How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ash Your Own Question
Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
75100385
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

trademark threat

Customer Question

Hi Have received a legal threat from a company whose packaging of a products is very similar to ours.   I am not sure what to do exactly and need some sound advice

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

Well I sell a product under my brand, and I have rcvd a letter from a competitors solicitor, and they have said the packaging looks the same and have asked me to stop selling the product, requested all sorts of things.

The packaging in general does look similar but I was not aware of this. Perhaps the Chinese supplier used generic packaging, and similar styles for my brand. Where do I stand on this?

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Is it a competitor in the UK?
Is it in the same industry sector as you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, in the clothing industry
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Who has been trading longer, them or you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Our incorporation date 1983
Their current company 1987. I have just checked this on companies house.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
However our brand in question only registered 3 years ago for this product, theirs is older
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. Could customers be confused? Are logos different etc?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Logos are different but there could be a resemblance in the packaging I could send a picture but don't know how on here and I don't want it to be shown in public really.
The point is I changed the packaging a little by adding a picture which is different to theirs, now that I compare. And frankly I have asked the supplier to change it completely for any new orders. However what I also want to know, can they make demands on such a thing, they have asked me to cease selling it, make changes to the packaging which I will, but have asked for my supplier name, my cost prices my selling prices etc, am I obliged to give such info?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Is it generic packing or specific?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I would say it's a fairly bog standard generic packaging and cardboard with writing on it. The font is the same logos different .
i would say it like finding two similar white tin cans in supermarket of baked beans , with "Baked beans" written on it "in pure tomato juice", same font and colour. Only one has Tesco on it other sainsburys
Does that make sense or give some indication?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Ok. Would a customer be confused, that is the main question?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i dont think so, but others may say yes, and wha then?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
If you are then you need to get the packaging changed, the test is would customers be confused.
If it's generic then the answer will be no. After all a corn flakes box is pretty standard no matter whether it says Kellogs or Asda.
But if it's standard packaging anyone can get, rather than specific, contains your logo which can't be confused, then it's not in breach.
Can I clarify anything For you about this today please?
Alex
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex
Thank you for that, and somehow I think you are right, although now that I am aware of it, I will change it immediately.
In response to the other person, is it in fact defence if I did not know that the packaging was similar previous to this. In addition, their packaging design if it not registered what claim do they have anyway, who is to know whose is older? And do you think it would be satisfactory in this instance to change the design solely, without disclosing any other information to the other party?
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
It's not a defence sadly. But they need to prove a loss in order to claim anything from you.
If they are ordering from the same supplier, then really it's the supplier fault.
Alex
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes I suspect that's what it is , it's probably the same supplier or supplier in the same area. Would this be the best way to go forward? And perhaps suggest that's what it was in defence
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Defence is that is not confusingly similar.
Alex