Prohibition of Slavish copying

In Claeryn/Klarein case, the use of trade mark of Klarein for toilet cleaner was triumphantly challenged by the owner of the trade mark of Claeryn for Dutch gin. The court opined that identical trade marks can influence the demand for unrelated products, for instance, where the loss of exclusivity in the mark denotes that mark no longer associates with the products for which it is registered.

Thus, no doubt, assuming toilet cleaner at the same time as gin would distress the market for that gin. Section 56 of the U. K Trade Mark Act offers protection to the owner of famous brand marks, for instance, Coca-Cola, under Article 6bis of Paris Convention when that mark is well-known in the United Kingdom and whether such owner of the mark carries trade or not in U. K. It is to be noted that United Kingdom is under obligation under international law by article 10bis of Paris Convention to offer protection against unfair competition. The English law does offer protection through its provisions like passing off, injurious falsehood or slander of goods.

While interpreting the phrase ‘hones’ practices in commercial and industrial matters , but in the absence of a court with jurisdiction powers to decide such point decisively , it remains open to doubt whether United Kingdom does observe with its international commitments on this point. Thus, UK law does not identify a specific law of unfair competition as there is no convincing definition of an unfair competition law. Thus, the legal professional in UK has to study the other jurisdictions for evidence of what makes a law on unfair competition.

In a nutshell, the Directive which has implemented in U. K offers a greater degree of safeguard for registered trade marks. Some of the provisions also offer safeguard against unfair competition especially relating to anti-dilution, infringement and safeguard for internationally well known brands like Pepsi. It seems that European unfair competition laws extend further than English law in the under mentioned areas by including the following provisions. General bar on the unfair conduct like disparagement of competitors.

Prohibition on giving special offers like low prices which includes loss-resulting and deep discounting. Protection for distribution networks. Further, the rules governing who have the status of suing to restrain unfair competition in the civil courts may facilitate competitors to bring action. It is to be noted that one can institute criminal offense in the United Kingdom for false trade description and these actions can be stopped by course of an action by a competitor in European Union. THE SCOPE OF CONFLICT BETWEEN NATIONAL LAWS AND EC LAW:

In Greece, an injunction was sanctioned to the exclusive and sole distributor of “Lacoste” products in Greece thereby thwarting parallel imports of original Dutch Lacoste products. However, under English law, no such injection is available. In Italy, it was held by Supreme Court that it did had the jurisdiction under the Brussels Convention [1968] to hear an unfair competition case against a British company which is said to be spreading false information in foreign markets about an Italian manufactured products.

In England, a slander or an injurious falsehood case can be initiated in identical circumstances before an English court. UK has adopted only EU legislation on Misleading Advertising Directive which offers Member States to enable action to be pursued against false advertising. This was implemented by grating extra powers to the Director General of Fair Trading to look for court orders to bar such advertisements but it does not offer any civil remedies to other third parties.