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IPEC considers ‘National Guild for removers and storers’ representation

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 01 February 2017

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The National Guild of Removers and Storers Ltd v Bee Moved Ltd and others [2016] EWHC 3192 (IPEC)

Facts:

The Claimant is a trade association which represents members of the removals and storage industry. The Defendant is a company who carries on the business as a removals and storage services.

This was a claim for passing off.

The Defendant was a member of the Claimant from April 2006 until 25th June 2010.

The Claimant stated that they owned the goodwill in a number of names including ‘The National Guild of removers and storers’, ‘The Guild’ and ‘NGRS’.

It was alleged, amongst other things, that a number of advertisements the Defendants had produced to promote their services for removing and storing in 2013 amounted to passing off.

The claimants argued that these adverts gave the impression that the Defendants were a member of the Claimants and would be protected by the Claimants services.

The Defendant admitted that the Claimant had goodwill in these names but their adverts did not amount to passing off.

Issue:

There are a number of websites where advertisements were posted. It needs to be determined which website had infringing advertisements posted.

These websites are:

  1. http://www.reallymoving.com/removals/directory
  2. http://www.bizwiki.co.uk and/or
  3. www.beemovedremovals.com/home_removals.html and/or
  4. www.removalstoragecompany.co.uk

 

Late on in the claim the list of websites reduced to really moving and beemoved.

Judgment:

Both websites made direct reference to ‘The National Guild of Removers and Storers’ and the ‘NGRS’ in relation to the services the companies were providing. In both cases, it was represented to the public viewing the websites that the companies in question were a continuing member of the Guild.

However, in relation to really moving, the addition of NGRS was made by a third party who had control of the website, preventing the defendant  from editing it.

Therefore, it was held the Claimant had succeeded in its claim for passing off in relation to the Bee Moved advertisement but not the Really Moving advertisement. 

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