Saturday 18 November 2017

Ryanair fails in injunction bid against Irish Airline Pilots' Association

RYANAIR has failed to get an injunction stopping the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) from using images of its aircraft or fuselage on the IALPA website pending the outcome of a full action over the matter.

The airline had alleged that the use of such images suggests Ryanair recognises IAPLA as a representative body or trade union when it does not.

In its proceedings, Ryanair had sought an interlocutory injunction restraining IALPA using any images containing Ryanair trademarks on the IALPA website, on business papers or on advertising anywhere in the EU pending the outcome of its full action over the matter.

It also wanted orders restraining IALPA allegedly passing off some association with Ryanair.

IALPA, a branch of the trade union IMPACT, contended that it used the images to show how many of its members work for Ryanair. It denied the use of the images suggests IALPA has been recognised by or is connected in any way with Ryanair and also denied Ryanair's business reputation has been damaged.

Delivering judgement today, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy said the court had to consider whether the use of the trademark was an attempt to gain an unfair advantage.

He said common sense would seem to suggest that the primary purpose of the reproduction of the trademark was to identify the employers of IALPA's members and not to take unfair advantage of Ryanair's trademark.

The court heard that IALPA previously put up images of Ryanair aircraft on its website but removed them following correspondence from Ryanair's solicitors.

However, the court heard that late last year, when Ryanair noticed an image of one of its aircraft on the IAPLA website, it wrote to the association asking that the image be removed but IALPA refused to do so.

Mr Justice Murphy said that it seemed that previous uses of the trademark by IALPA in 2006 and 2010 were not withdrawn unreservedly on each occasion.

The judge found that IALPA did not on each occasion agree to discontinue what it regarded as a lawful indirect use of the applicant's trademark.

Mr Justice Murphy said the court was also satisfied that a three month delay between the uploading of an image on to the IALPA website on September 2, 2011, and the initiating letter of complaint from Ryanair was not adequately explained.

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