On Wednesday, 5 November 2014, the Court of Appeal, made up of Lord Justices Kitchin, Patten and Rimer, ordered that the case be remitted to the High Court for a retrial. The order relating to the continuation of the injunction against M&S, which effectively both prevents M&S bidding on the “Interflora” trade mark and forces M&S to negative match the keyword “Interflora”, will be handed down in due course.
Michael Barringer, Interflora Marketing Director commented: “Interflora continues to believe that the evidence before the Court supports a finding of infringement and we are going forward on that basis to the retrial”.
“The Court of Appeal’s decision to ask the High Court to look at all the evidence again backs the hard work and effort that everyone at Interflora has put in to defending the Interflora brand. People searching the internet for “Interflora” want “Interflora, the flower experts” and no one else. We are very proud of the Interflora brand, and want to protect it for our customers, our florists and our future. Accordingly, we believe it is right to continue to protect the brand through this court action.”
Notes to editors
- Established in 1923, Interflora recently celebrated its 90th anniversary as the nation’s expert flower delivery service.
- Interflora has a network of 1,800 member florists across the UK and Ireland and is part of a wider international network which delivers to more than 150 countries world-wide.
- Omnibus research shows that Interflora remains the UK’s most recognized and trusted flower delivery service. (Omnibus Survey April 2013)
- In December 2008, Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit initiated proceedings against Marks and Spencer plc (“M&S”) in an attempt to stop M&S from bidding on the “Interflora” trade mark in the Google advertising programme, AdWords.
- The case was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in May 2009 to determine the test to be applied by the English High Court when deciding whether M&S’s acts amounted to trade mark infringement.
- In September 2011, the CJEU set the test to be applied by the trial judge, Mr Justice Arnold, who found in favour of Interflora in May 2013.
- Arnold J ruled M&S’s acts amounted to trade mark infringement on the basis that average internet users could not tell whether the adverts were placed by M&S or Interflora. Marks & Spencer appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal which today, Wednesday, 5 November, remitted the case to the High Court for a retrial.
- Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit were represented by Iain Connor, partner at Pinsent Masons who instructed barristers Michael Silverleaf QC of 11 South Square and Simon Malynicz of Three New Square.