Company director jointly liable for trade mark infringement and passing off

A decision in the IP Enterprise Court provides a warning to company directors of their potential liabilities in regard to intellectual property infringement.

The court gave summary judgment for the claimant in a claim for trade mark infringement and passing off, finding the company director jointly liable with his company. The judge observed that the defendant’s status as the sole director and shareholder raised an evidential presumption that the corporate defendant’s acts were committed at his instigation and therefore the judge took the view that the director actively co-operated with his company to commit the acts of passing off and infringement and intended that his co-operation should bring about those acts.