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UK retailer Next plc is subject to a trade mark infringement claim issued by Harley-Davidson, the famous motorcycle manufacturer based in the US that also designs and sells its own merchandise. Harley-Davidson takes issue with one of Next’s long sleeved children’s black t-shirts as it features angel wings and flames with text “Fearless heart, rise and roar” which it claims are used in combinations with its trade marks.

Harley-Davidson claims infringement on the basis that the design, specifically the colour black, flames and wings, replicate its famous logo and use motorcycle-based branding which may give rise to a likelihood of confusion between the parties. Its famous logo contains the words ‘HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR CYCLES’ in a badge style design, which is the design it alleges Next have based their t-shirts on.

The claim was filed at the UK’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (“IPEC”), based within the High Court, which offers streamlined procedures for dealing with straightforward intellectual property disputes. Harley-Davidson is seeking a declaration from the Court to confirm the infringement, and an order that Next must destroy all infringing materials. No damages were quantified but those awarded in IPEC are usually estimated to be between £10,000 and £50,000. Additionally, as with most disputes, if Harley-Davidson is successful in the claim Next will have to pay their legal costs. However, as the claim was issued in IPEC, the Court will only be able to award costs for up to £60,000 as recoverable costs are capped in IPEC.

We await the Court’s decision on the claim, which will determine if an enquiry as to damages or an account of profits will be required.

If you have any questions on the above, feel free to contact a member of the team at 0191 281 4000 or alternatively at legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

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