On Thursday, 24 March, the Advocate General handed down his Opinion on the question put to the Court of Justice of the European Union as to whether Marks & Spencer (“M&S”) should be allowed to use the “Interflora” trade mark as an internet search engine keyword to advertise M&S flowers.
Interflora asked the European Court to answer the question:
Where a trade mark owner such as Interflora has invested considerably in its trade mark, and consumers rely on that trade mark to guide their purchasing behaviour, should a competitor such as Marks & Spencer be entitled to trade off and make money from using Interflora’s trade marks at the expense of Interflora?
Interflora is very encouraged by the Advocate General’s findings which, if followed by the Court of Justice of European Union, will strengthen consumer protection. Such a ruling will enable brand holders across Europe to deliver quality service and ensure that trade marks guarantee the origin of the goods bought by consumers online.
However, Interflora acknowledges that this is only an opinion and eagerly awaits the final judgment of the Court of Justice on the questions put to it.
Michael Barringer, Interflora’s marketing director said that “together with our network of 1800 independent florists, we have spent a lot of time and money over the last 80 years building the reputation of the Interflora brand. We are known as “the flower experts” and our brand stands for quality and service. Our customers trust us to deliver flowers at the most important times of their lives. We are very proud of the Interflora brand and want to protect it for our customers, florists and the future.”
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