European Union – Trade marks. The Second Board of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office had correctly decided that the applicant company (adidas AG) had failed to establish that the figurative mark that it had successfully registered consisting of three parallel equidistant stripes of identical width (applied on a product in any direction) had acquired distinctive character through use throughout the EU. It followed that the Board had been right to decide that the contested mark had been registered in breach of art 7(1)(b) of the Regulation (EC) No 207/2009 and that it should therefore be declared invalid. Consequently, the General Court of the European Union dismissed the action by adidas AG for annulment of the Board's decision.
European Union – Trade marks. The Fourth Board of Appeal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office had correctly decided that the three-dimensional sign in the shape of a faucet for which registration as an EU trade mark was sought by the applicant company (Brita GmbH) was devoid of any distinctive character within the meaning of art 7(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 207/2009, as amended, in respect of all the relevant goods and services referred to by the examiner. Consequently, the General Court of the European Union dismissed Brita's action for annulment of the Board's decision.
Criminal law – Costs. Section 17 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 was not intended to apply to civil proceedings in the High Court, even if they were consequential on criminal proceedings. Accordingly, the Queen's Bench Division set aside its previous order, holding that the private prosecutor was entitled to be paid out of central funds both his own costs as prosecutor and the costs he had been ordered to pay.
Medical practitioner – Disciplinary proceedings. There had been a procedural irregularity in the decision of the respondent General Osteopathic Council's Professional Conduct Committee to impose conditions of practice on the appellant's registration as an osteopath for a period of 12 months serious enough to render the decision unjust. The Administrative Court, in allowing the appellant's appeal, held that the content and tone of the lay member's questions were more troubling than the fact that the committee's questioning had lasted longer than the cross-examination.
Wills – Probate. The effect of the non-compliance with a condition imposed on a gift demised in a testator's will, meant that the condition applied to substituted beneficiaries, where the initial beneficiary had predeceased the testator. The Chancery Division further held that the substituted beneficiaries' failure to comply with the condition because they had not been aware of it had not made it impossible to fulfil and accordingly the effect of non-compliance with the condition had applied.
Highway – Maintenance. Section 36(2)(a) of the Highways Act 1980 applied to a public path, as it was not confined to where the highway had been constructed as such at the outset, it did not have to be constructed by a highway authority acting in that capacity and there was nothing in the respondent local authority's retrospectivity point. Accordingly, the Queen's Bench Division, in allowing the appellant's appeal, held that there had been a failure to maintain and the appellant had to succeed on liability.
European Union – Equality of treatment of men and women. Article 24 of Directive (EC) 2006/54 should be interpreted as meaning that it precluded national legislation under which, in a situation where a person who believed to be discriminated against on grounds of sex had lodged a complaint, an employee who had supported that person in that context was protected from retaliatory measures taken by the employer solely if that employee had intervened as a witness in the context of the investigation of that complaint and that that employee's witness statement satisfied formal requirements laid down by that legislation. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the award of compensation to the second applicant as a result of her dismissal.
European Union – Insurance. A vehicle parked in a private garage of a building which had not been moved for more than 24 hours, used in accordance with its function as a means of transport, had caught fire which had originated in the electrical circuit of that vehicle and had caused damage to that building. In proceedings concerning the reimbursement of the compensation which an insurance company had paid to the owner of the building, the Court of Justice of the European Union held, in a preliminary ruling, that the situation fell within the concept of 'use of vehicles' referred to in art 3 of Directive (EC) 2009/103 for the purposes of insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles.
Family proceedings – Child abduction. The father's application for the return of the parties' child to the State of Israel was granted under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissing the mother's appeal, held that whilst there had been no jurisdiction under the 1980 Convention, because the mother's retention of the child in England had not fallen within its scope, the judge had been entitled to make an alternative decision under the court's inherent jurisdiction.
Contract – Building contract. The claimant construction company's claim against the defendant employer succeeded, in proceedings concerning a venture to develop two houses in London in a Conservation Area. The Technology and Construction Court held that, among other things, Conservation Area Consent (CAC) had been required, and that the defendant had been in breach of an implied term by failing to use all due diligence to obtain the CAC.
Injunction – Interim. The claimant local authority succeeded, to the extent indicated in the judgment, on its application for interim injunctions against the defendants, who were engaged in protests outside a primary school. The defendants, who were mainly of the Muslim faith, were opposed to pupils at the school being taught about certain matters relating to sexual behaviour, sexuality and gender. The Queen's Bench Division, in granting the injunctions in a modified form, held that the authority had demonstrated that it would probably succeed at a trial in showing a risk that, unless restrained, the defendants would cause protest or demonstration which was unlawful and actionable. It held that, on the facts, interim injunctions were appropriate.
Competition – Company. The applicant companies' applications to strike out claims against them succeeded in part. The proceedings arose from findings of a cartel in the selling of colour televisions. The Chancery Division held that, among other things, the applications to strike out the claims against the first to third defendants and the fourth defendant based on breach of art 101 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union failed. Further, there was not an arguable case that two defendant companies connected to the Panasonic group had had the requisite intention to injure the claimants for the purposes of the economic torts in question.
Negligence – Duty to take care. While the defendant, the Cumberland hotel, had owed the claimant guests a duty to take reasonable care to protect them at its hotel against injury caused by the criminal acts of third parties and, notwithstanding that a criminal attack on three of the claimants at the hotel by a third party (S) had not amounted to a new intervening act which had broken the chain of causation, and had been reasonably foreseeable to the hotel, the likelihood of such an attack occurring had been extremely low. Accordingly, the Queen's Bench Division held that breach of duty had not been established and that the Cumberland hotel was not liable to the claimants for the attack that S had carried out.
Criminal evidence – Police interview. The defendant Jack Shepherd's interview as a significant witness after the deceased had suffered fatal injuries when his speedboat struck a submerged tree on the river Thames when the boat had been travelling at excessive speed, the deceased and the defendant had been drinking alcohol, and the deceased, who had no experience of driving a speedboat, was at the wheel, had been admissible and the defendant's appeal against conviction for manslaughter would be dismissed. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, allowed his appeal against conviction for breach of bail, as there had been no consent to pursue the defendant for his breach of bail in his extradition from Georgia.
Insolvency – Statutory demand. The deputy judge had correctly concluded that the third-party charges provided by the respondents for the indebtedness of a company (of which they were directors and shareholders) to the creditor company were security in respect of the debt upon which the statutory demands had been based, within the meaning of r 6.5(4)(c) of the Insolvency Rules 1986, SI 1986/1925, interpreted in accordance with its underlying rationale and purpose. Accordingly, the Chancery Division dismissed the creditor's appeal against the deputy judge's decision to set aside the statutory demands served by the creditor against the respondents.
European Union – Environment. The 'waste hierarchy' principle, as expressed in art 4 of the Directive (EC) 2008/98, read in the light of art 13 thereof, should be interpreted as not precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which classified waste incineration facilities as 'strategic infrastructure and installations of major national importance', as long as that legislation was compatible with the other provisions of that directive which laid down more specific obligations. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning an action seeking the annulment of an Italian Decree concerned, among other things, with the identification of the overall treatment capacity of facilities for the incineration of municipal and similar waste in service or authorised at national level.
European Union – Customs and excise. Article 9(4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/1036 stated that where the facts as finally established show that there had been dumping and injury caused thereby, and the Union interest called for intervention, a definitive anti-dumping duty was to be imposed by the Commission. Further, art 14(1) of that Regulation provided that the anti-dumping duties were to be imposed by regulation. It followed that, in that the Implementing Regulations at issue referred to arts 9 and 14 of Regulation 2016/1036, they had a legal basis that empowered the European Commission to re-impose the anti-dumping duties imposed by the Regulations declared to be invalid. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in a preliminary ruling in proceedings between the taxpayer company and the Revenue and Customs Commissioners, UK, in relation to a request by that company for repayment of anti-dumping duties paid on the import of footwear with uppers of leather into the EU.
European Union – Consumer protection. Article 3(3) of Directive (EC) 1999/44 should be interpreted as meaning that the member states remained competent to establish the place where the consumer was required to make goods acquired under a distance contract available to the seller, for them to be brought into conformity in accordance with that provision. That place had to be appropriate for ensuring that they could be brought into conformity free of charge, within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, taking into account the nature of the goods and the purpose for which the consumer had required the goods. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in a preliminary ruling in proceedings by the applicant purchaser concerning a claim for reimbursement of the purchase price of a tent, made by the applicant in the exercise of his right to rescind the sale contract.
Family proceedings – Orders in family proceedings. In respect of a child (A), who was the subject of an interim care order, the only realistic option was for him to go to live with his father. Accordingly, the local authority's proposal for such a transition was approved. However, the Family Division ruled that the position in relation to A's sibling required further assessment of family members and of the mother which, it held, would be the subject of further consideration.
Sentence – Sexual offences. The defendant's appeal against a total sentence of 15 months' imprisonment for breach of a sexual harm prevention order and failing to comply with notification requirements was dismissed. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, held that, on the facts and having regard to the sentencing guidelines, the judge had been entitled, in principle to activate, in full, a suspended sentence, imposed for the underlying sexual offences, and that the total term of 15 months' imprisonment, while stern, was not manifestly excessive.