ACID legal affiliate, Virtuoso Legal announced that it won a modern-day David vs Goliath intellectual property case in the High Court, acting for defendant, Argos Systems Inc (‘Argos US’) in a case brought by well-known UK retailer Argos Limited (‘Argos UK’).

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Acid legal affiliate, Virtuoso Legal announced that it won a modern-day David vs Goliath intellectual property case in the High Court, acting for defendant, Argos Systems Inc (‘Argos US’) in a case brought by well-known UK retailer Argos Limited (‘Argos UK’).

This case is said to have set a new precedent in Online advertising, particularly for those businesses who advertise using Google AdWords or AdSense. Argos UK brought a claim against CAD Software Design company, Argos US, for infringement of trademark in relation to the use of the ARGOS name and in particular of Google’s AdSense programme on the Argos US website.

During the proceedings it was apparent that both Argos UK and Argos US had independently come up with the name ‘ARGOS’ and Argos US had invested early in its cyber property by purchasing the argos.com domain name back in 1992. Argos UK claimed that Argos US’s use of ARGOS on its website’s landing page in conjunction with the Google AdSense programme was illegal, as this meant that Argos US’s website had ‘banner’ advertising at the top and side of its website.

Argos UK’s main concern was that visitors who were looking for Argos UK’s website would be mis-led that it would be at argos.com and see adverts for Argos UK’s competitors, such as John Lewis.

Argos UK were using its EU trade marks (for the brand ARGOS) to legally challenge Argos US, who only operated in the United States and had no customers in Europe. As such, Argos UK had to overcome the hurdle of proving that Argos US’s actions amounted to ‘targeting’ customers in the USA. In short, the High Court rejected Argos UK’s arguments and found that Argos US had not targeted European customers.

Whilst Argos US won in relation to those points, the deputy judge did also agree that Argos US had two valid defences: they had honestly used their ‘own name’ and Argos UK had ‘consented’ to Argos US’s use by signing up to Google’s AdSense programme itslef.

In conclusion, this was a significant ruling for Argos US, represented by the IP team at ACID legal affiliates Virtuoso Legal.