Hamlins secures “FINE” victory in the Court of Appeal

Luxury brand Fine & Country has secured a comprehensive victory over the Spicerhaart Group concluding an on-going battle in the Court of Appeal over use of the FINE brand. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court handed down in March 2012 supporting Fine & Country’s claims that Spicerhaart, the UK’s largest independent estate agency group, was guilty of trade mark infringement and attempting to pass off its FINE brand as associated with Fine & Country.

Fine & Country is a longstanding client of Matthew Pryke and Hamlins. Matthew has advised the company for many years and brought the client to the firm when he joined in 2012. Back in 2012 Lord Hildyard upheld all of Fine & Country’s claims with this decision subsequently challenged by Spicerhaart,

In a far reaching order Spicerhaart is now required by the Court to:

  • re-brand its FINE business
  • transfer its fine.co.uk domain name to Fine & Country
  • remove or destroy all infringing material
  • publish the judgments on its websites for a period of 6 months
  • pay Fine & Country’s legal costs and damages.

The re-brand of the FINE brand, after the multi million pounds of investment in the brand over 3 years, is a crushing blow for Spicerhaart. The Court of Appeal considered the continued registration of the Fine & Country trade marks to have “far-reaching consequences” and yet the trade mark registrations and the claims of infringement were upheld.

Hamlins represented Fine & Country at the Court of Appeal over a period of two days. The case raises a number of complex points of law about trade marks and the registrability of terms which can be used descriptively. We are absolutely delighted with this fabulous result for our client.

Notes:

Fine & Country is a leading luxury estate agency with over 200 offices in the UK and 300 offices worldwide it’s head office is on Park Lane, Mayfair, London.