- Alert: ZUMA trade mark infringed by dog food website (Azumi v Zuma)
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IP & IT analysis: The operators of the high-end Japanese restaurant, Zuma, have succeeded in a trade mark infringement action against Zuma’s Choice Pet Products Limited—a high quality pet food company named after the director’s dog—and its sole director. The defendants had not made any sales of pet food, and the company’s turnover remained at zero, but the court held that the defendants had used the domain name and the signs ZUMA, DINE IN WITH ZUMA and an associated device mark in the context of commercial activity with a view to economic advantage, and that such use constituted trade mark infringement pursuant to section 10(3) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 and Article 9(2)(c) of Regulation (EC) No 207/2009, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2424. The director was liable as a joint tortfeasor with the company. However, the use of the company name ‘Zuma’s Choice Pet Products Limited’ was not held to infringe. The defendants were not otherwise entitled to rely on the own name defence, based either on the company name or the dog’s name. The court held that the claimant was entitled to injunctive relief restraining the defendants from further acts of infringement. The defendants’ claim and counterclaim for unjustified threats succeeded only in relation to threats made in respect of the company name.
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