SLEAFORD, England, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
On Tuesday, 21 May 2013, the High Court of England and Wales handed down its judgment in the long running case of Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit versus Marks and Spencer plc. Mr Justice Arnold ruled in favour of Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit, finding that Marks and Spencer's use of the "Interflora" trade mark as a Google AdWord to advertise its M&S Flowers & Gifts website was trade mark infringement.
Mr Justice Arnold said: "the M&S advertisements which are the subject of Interflora's claim did not enable reasonably well-informed and reasonably attentive internet users to ascertain whether the service referred to in the advertisements originated from [M&S or Interflora] ... On the contrary, as at 6 May 2008, a significant proportion of the consumers who searched for "interflora" and the other Signs, and then clicked on M&S's advertisements displayed in response to those searches, were led to believe, incorrectly, that M&S's flower delivery service was part of the Interflora network."
This judgment marks the conclusion of the trial of a legal case that began in 2008 and involved hearings before the Court of Justice of European Union and the UK Court of Appeal before finally returning to the High Court for trial.
Rhys Hughes, president of Interflora British Unit, said "this ruling helps ensure that when consumers search on the internet for "Interflora", theycan be confident in knowingthat the flowers bought online come from a member of the Interflora network.Keyword advertising is a very powerful tool and so it is vital for consumer protection that internet search results take consumers directly to the brands they are looking for. The Interflora brand stands for quality and service, a reputation we have been building, with our network of independent florists, since 1923."
The judgment means that Marks and Spencer cannot bid on the trade marked term "Interflora" in the Google AdWords programme. The case will return to court later in the year to determine how much Marks and Spencer must pay Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit by way of damages and costs. Each party may seek permission to appeal.
Notes to editors
- Established in 1923, Interflora is this year celebrating its 90th anniversary as the nation's expert flower delivery service.
- Interflora its marking this special anniversary at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with a floral exhibit entitled "Time Frames" which has been recognized with a Gold Medal.
- Interflora has a network of 1,800 member florists across the UK and Ireland and is part of a wider international network which delivers to more than 150 countries world-wide.
- Omnibus research shows that Interflora remains the UK's most recognized and trusted flower delivery service. (Omnibus Survey April 2013)
Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit were represented by Iain Connor, partner at Pinsent Masons who instructed barristers Michael Silverleaf QC of 11 South Square and Simon Malynicz of Three New Square. All enquiries should be directed to the Interflora Press Office on 0800-542-1891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Isabel@edenpr.co.uk