James Abrahams QC represented the defendants in an application to strike out easyGroup Limited’s claim for pan-EU injunctive relief and other remedies outside the UK for infringement of an EU trade mark.
easyGroup issued proceedings against the defendants on 5 March 2020, prior to “IP Completion Day” when the UK left the European Union on 31 December 2020. The proceedings were for infringement of its EU trade marks by the defendants’ use of “easyCOSMETICS”. The defendants claimed that their business focuses on Germany and Austria and that they did not carry out business in the UK.
The Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Julian Flaux, held that Article 67 of the Withdrawal Agreement preserves the provisions of EU Regulation 2017/1001 (“the EUTM Regulations”) relating to jurisdiction over proceedings that were pending as at IP Completion Day. For those cases, the UK Courts remain EUTM Courts. Though the legislation was not clearly or coherently drafted, the judge held that paragraph 20(2) of Schedule 2A to the Trade Marks Act 1994 meant that, in pending proceedings, the UK Court is intended to retain the jurisdiction under Chapter X of the EUTM Regulations which it had prior to IP Completion Day, including the jurisdiction to grant a pan-EU injunction. Therefore, the application was rejected.
The defendants were granted permission to appeal the decision.