Tuesday 22 January 2019

Legal row erupts over trademarking of colourful cartoon sheep

Wacky Woolies
Wacky Woolies

Tim Healy

A legal row over colourful cartoon sheep has come before the Commercial Court.

The Shamrock Gift Company (Trading House), Fonthill Industrial Park, Dublin, has sued a British company claiming trademark infringement in relation to its "Wacky Woolies" range which has colourful cartoon sheep on souvenirs and gifts.

The case is against Elgate Products Ltd, with registered offices at Delandale House, Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, on grounds including alleged infringement of the Irish registered trade marks and alleged passing off.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern admitted the case to the fast track Commercial Court.

The Shamrock Gift Company, which has been in business since 1998, is seeking an order restraining Elgate from infringing its trademarks which comprise images of cartoon sheep.

It also seeks an injunction restraining Elgate from allegedly passing off goods as, or for, the goods of The Shamrock Gift Company by means of packaging or marketing materials  bearing images of cartoon sheep and a get up  similar to that of Shamrocks's Wacky Woolies range of products.

Shamrock also wants an order directing delivery to it of all goods, packaging , products, materials or articles which allegedly infringe Shamrock's intellectual property rights and which are in the possession of Elgate.

Jonathan Newman SC, for Elgate, told the court his client is counterclaiming the trademark registrations at issue are invalid.

Shamrock says that since 2007 it said it has promoted, marketed and sold in Ireland a wide variety of such products under the name and trademark Wacky Woolies which have images of cartoon sheep which Shamrock says are eye catching, amusing and endearing from the perspective of prospective purchasers.

The case will come back before the court in July.

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