Argos (UK) v. Argos Systems Inc. (US): Costs and Appeal

Overview

You may have read our previous blogs and updates in February concerning the David vs. Goliath case of Argos Limited (UK) vs. Argos Systems Inc. (US) On February 15th, 2017 the intellectual property team at Virtuoso Legal secured a landmark ruling in the High Court in the case of Argos Limited (UK) vs. Argos Systems Inc. (US). The judgment set legal precedent for the use of Google AdSense and its relation to online trade mark infringement.

For our overview of the case (including links to series of blogs on the details of the case, click here) and to access a copy of the judgment – click here.

Costs and Appeal Update

By way of update: on Friday 10 March 2017, Philip and Matthew from the team at Virtuoso Legal were again in the High Court in London on the Argos (UK) v Argos US case. The hearing was an opportunity for Deputy Judge Mr Richard Spearman QC to make the consequential order following his judgment of 15 February 2017, where Argos US successfully defended all of Argos UK’s claims for trade mark infringement and passing off.

Prior to the hearing, Argos UK and Argos US had agreed that Argos UK would make an interim payment on account of Argos US’s costs in the sum of £273,695, which would be paid to Argos US within the next 4 weeks.

This represents a very large percentage of Argos US’s incurred costs over the course of the litigation, with the remainder either being agreed or subject to further detailed assessment.  In addition, this is on top of the two summary assessment of costs (totalling around £37,000) which Argos UK were ordered to pay to Argos US in relation to Argos UK’s deficient disclosure in the summer of 2016.

Since most matters had been agreed prior to the hearing, the only matter to be determined at the hearing itself was Argos UK’s request for permission to appeal the decision. In particular, Argos UK’s counsel sought to appeal much of that decision on various grounds.

Upon hearing submissions on permission to appeal from Argos UK’s counsel, the Deputy Judge decided that permission be refused as it had “no reasonable prospect of success”.  It is unclear at this stage whether or not Argos UK will seek permission from the Court of Appeal.

Defending Argos Systems (US): What It Means

For Virtuoso, this hearing represents another resounding victory for a small company who, now judged to be operating lawfully, had found themselves under profound legal pressure brought by a far larger company.

Often it seems that the balance of law may be tipped in favour of those with greater access to financial resources (and ergo large legal teams) – however Virtuoso Legal prides itself on championing, and illustrating through our case history, that this need not always be so.

A comprehensive and nuanced understanding of intellectual property; and a practical approach to costs secured Argos Systems Inc. with not only the lawful outcome – but also the optimal peace of mind during what could have been a far more stressful litigation process.

We will provide further updates on this case as they arise.

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