British Airways Plc v Ryanair Limited: ChD 25 Oct 2000

The claimant alleged that disparaging adverts by the defendant infringed its trade marks and amounted to the tort of malicious falsehood.
Held: There was no dispute that the mark had been used. The Act could not be used to prevent any use of another’s trade mark in comparitive advertising. In this case the advertisement, though possibly ambiguous was not misleading: ‘the use was honest comparative advertising. I suspect the real reason BA do not like it is precisely because it is true.’


Jacob J


[2001] FSR 32, [2000] EWHC Ch 55




Trade Marks Act 10(6), Comparative Advertising Directive of 6th October 1997 (97/55/EEC)


England and Wales


CitedGregory v Portsmouth City Council HL 10-Feb-2000
Disciplinary proceedings had been taken by the local authority against Mr Gregory, a council member, after allegations had been made that he had failed to declare conflicts of interest, and that he had used confidential information to secure a . .
CitedOcular Sciences Ltd v Aspect Vision Care Ltd ChD 11-Nov-1996
The freedom for a claimant in registered design right to frame his claim, as to whether he asserts an infringement of the entire design, or limits it to the section infringed, is important.
Laddie J said: ‘This means that the proprietor can . .
CitedWindsurfing Chiemsee Produktions and Vertriebs GmbH v Boots und Segelzubehor Walter Huber and another ECJ 4-May-1999
Registration is to be refused in respect of descriptive marks, ie marks composed exclusively of signs or indications which may serve to designate the characteristics of the categories of goods or services in respect of which registration is applied . .
CitedCable and Wireless plc v British Telecommunications plc ChD 1998
The court set out the applicable legal principles in trade mark infringement. The court considered the elements necessary to establish a defence under s10(6): The primary objective of section 10(6) of the 1996 Act is to permit comparative . .
CitedMarleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA ECJ 13-Nov-1990
Sympathetic construction of national legislation
LMA OVIEDO sought a declaration that the contracts setting up Commercial International were void (a nullity) since they had been drawn up in order to defraud creditors. Commercial International relied on an EC . .
CitedInter-Environnement Wallonie v Region Wallonne ECJ 18-Dec-1997
ECJ Member States are required to refrain from taking any measures liable seriously to compromise the results prescribed by a Directive, even though the date for its implementation has not yet expired.
The . .
CitedBarclays Bank Plc v RBS Advanta ChD 8-Feb-1996
A party complaining about the use of a trade mark in a comparative advert is required to show some dishonesty. Section 10(6) of the Act was described as ‘home grown’ rather than derived directly from the Directive. . .
CitedVodafone Group Plc v Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd ChD 1997
The court examined the development of the law in relation to comparative advertising. Jacob J said: ‘Prior to the coming into force of the Trade Marks Act 1994 comparative advertising using a registered trade mark of a competitor was, subject to . .
CitedEstee Lauder Cosmetics GmbH and Co OHG v Lancaster Group GmbH ECJ 13-Jan-2000
Europa Approximation of laws – Cosmetic products – Packaging and labelling – Directive 76/768 – Measures to prevent advertising attributing to cosmetic products characteristics which they do not possess – Ban on . .
CitedErven Warnink Besloten Vennootschap v J Townend and Sons (Hull) Limited (‘Advocaat’) HL 1979
The trademark was the name of a spirit-based product called ADVOCAAT. The product had gained a reputation and goodwill for that name in the English market and the defendants were seeking to take advantage of that name by misrepresenting that their . .

Cited by:

CitedLevi Strauss and Co and Another v Tesco Stores Ltd and others ChD 31-Jul-2002
The trade mark owners sought to restrain the defendants from selling within the EU, articles bearing their mark which had been imported other than through their own channels. The defendants resisted summary judgement after reference to the European . .
CitedQuinton v Peirce and Another QBD 30-Apr-2009
One election candidate said that another had defamed him in an election leaflet. Additional claims were made in injurious falsehood and under the Data Protection Act.
Held: The claim in defamation failed. There were no special privileges in . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property, Media, Torts – Other

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.162997