Similar Name Ban is Postcode-Specific

Posted: 6th July 2011

‘Passing off’ is the legal term for when a business seeks to profit from the name or reputation of another business by using a similar name. When the person or business entitled to use a name in a particular market finds their trading name, or one similar enough to lead potential customers to think they are dealing with the business, being used by another business, they can bring an action in damages for the profit lost as a result and/or can apply for an injunction to prevent the other business from using the similar name.

Such actions are relatively rare but recently one was heard in which a firm named Redwood Tree Services Limited, which trades in the Guildford, Slough and Kingston upon Thames areas, found that a firm called Redwood Tree Surgeons had started to operate ‘on its patch’. It sought an injunction to prevent the business using the ‘Redwood’ name in those areas.
The court considered that the names were sufficiently similar for confusion to arise in the minds of customers. Accordingly, the injunction was granted, but only with regard to the GU, SL and KT postcodes. The adjacent RG postcode would not be included.