Alan Kenneth McKenzie Clark v Associated Newspapers Ltd: PatC 21 Jan 1998

The claimant was a member of Parliament and an author. The defendant published a column which was said to give the impression that the claimant had written it. It was a parody. The claim was in passing off.
Held: The first issue was whether a substantial number of readers had been misled. The deception must be more than momentary and inconsequential. A parody of writing style was capable of constituting the tort of passing off and being a breach of Copyright Act rights even though there was a clear attribution. Here the evidence supported the fact that the parody, which relied upon creating just enough, but not too much confusion, had crossed the line. It was sufficient to establish that one of the possible reasonable meanings of the publication would mislead a substantial number of people; but a single meaning was required for the statutory tort of false attribution of authorship.


Lightman J


Times 28-Jan-1998, Gazette 18-Feb-1998, [1998] EWHC Patents 345, [1998] 1 WLR 1558




Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 84


CitedMarengo v Daily Sketch HL 1948
The appellant enjoyed a reputation as a cartoonist under the pseudonym ‘Kem’. The defendant published the work of another cartoonist with the pseudonym ‘Kim’ but without the dot over the ‘i’. The claimant claimed in passing off.
Held: ‘Is it . .
CitedMoore v News of the World CA 1972
An article was published which the plaintiff said left readers with the false apprehension that she had written it. She claimed under the statutory tort of false attribution.
Held: The judge was correct to direct the jury to make up their . .
CitedCadbury-Schweppes Pty Ltd And Others v Pub Squash Co Pty Ltd PC 13-Oct-1980
(New South Wales) The plaintiff had launched and advertised a soft drink. A year later, the defendant launched a similar product using similar names, styles and advertising, but then registered trade marks. The plaintiff sought damages, and for the . .
CitedSpalding (A G ) and Brothers v A W Gamage Ltd HL 1915
The House considered the requirements for the tort of passing off. The judge has the sole responsibility for deciding whether anybody has been misled. He will hear evidence, but must not surrender his assessment to others.
Lord Parker said: . .
CitedThe European Limited v The Economist Newspaper Limited CA 20-Nov-1997
When considering an allegation of passing off, the judge may also be assisted by the evidence of experts explaining special features of the relevant ‘market’ of which he may otherwise be ignorant and which are relevant to the likelihood of deception . .
CitedReckitt and Coleman Properties Ltd v Borden Inc HL 1990
The plaintiffs claimed passing off of their ‘Jif Lemon’ trading style.
Held: It is no defence to an allegation of passing off that members of the public would not be misled if they were more literate, careful, perspicacious, wary or prudent. . .
CitedNorman v Bennett 1974
The court considered the requirements to establish an offence under the 1968 Act: ‘I think that, where a false description is attached to goods, its effect can be neutralised by an express disclaimer or contradiction of the message contained in the . .
CitedJoseph v National Magazine 1959
False attribution of article to plaintiff – injunctive relief . .
CitedCharleston and Another v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another HL 31-Mar-1995
The plaintiffs were actors playing Harold and Madge Bishop in the Australian soap series ‘Neighbours’. They sued on a tabloid newspaper article which showed their faces superimposed on the near-naked bodies of models apparently engaged in sexual . .
CitedRegina v Southwood CACD 1-Jul-1987
Where a car dealer had falsified the odometer on a car he was selling, a disclaimer as to the car’s mileage was ineffective to provide a defence under the 1968 Act. . .

Cited by:

CitedAjinomoto Sweeteners Europe Sas v Asda Stores Ltd CA 2-Jun-2010
The claimant sold a sweetener ingredient. The defendant shop advertised its own health foods range with the label ‘no hidden nasties’ and in a situation which, the claimant said, suggested that its ingredient was a ‘nasty’, and it claimed under . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property, Media

Updated: 25 May 2022; Ref: scu.136107