Waterfront victory for Vertical Leisure in IPEC Domain Name passing off case.
Apr 13, 2015
On 27 March 2015, Waterfront obtained judgment in favour of its client Vertical Leisure in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
The case involved the registration by a Mr Peter Bowley of 12 domain names that incorporated the terms “X-Pole” and “Silkii” used by Vertical Leisure in relation to its products.
At a summary judgment hearing in June 2014 His Honour Judge Hacon held that Mr Bowley’s registrations involved acts of passing off and the creation of instruments of deception and ordered that the domain names be transferred to our client. The decision (available here) received considerable coverage at the time in that it confirmed that the English courts could rapidly provide effective relief in some domain name disputes. Waterfront partner Matthew Harris conducted the advocacy at that hearing.
The case however was ordered to proceed to trial to determine whether Poleplus Limited, a company with which Mr Bowley was involved, was also liable in relation to these registrations. That trial took place in February 2015 with judgment being handed down a few weeks later. HHJ Hacon held that Poleplus was jointly liable with Mr Bowley in respect of these registrations on the grounds that Mr Bowley was acting as Poleplus’s agent and also on the grounds that Poleplus was vicariously liable in respect of Mr Bowley’s acts.
The full judgment can be found here.
In a follow up hearing on the 1 April 2015 (at which Matthew Harris again acted as advocate), the court ordered Mr Bowley and Poleplus to pay £48,753.70 in respect of Vertical Leisure’s legal costs.