Exposed: another possible supermarket case of outrageous passing off

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By Judge John Hack on

Will the intellectual property law teams at two supermarket giants leap into their panda cars to clamp down on these cheeky independents?


What is it about Tesco — once the poster boy of UK retail, now the limping invalid — that attracts so much passing off or attempted passing off?

Perhaps it’s that homespun “everyday value” catchphrase, but local shopkeepers around the country are keen to bag a bit of reflected glory — even if in the process they have to sail close to the intellectual property wind.

Recently, Legal Cheek highlighted “Tesos Express” in southwest London. Today we bring you “Today’s Extra” from Hackney in east London and — as a bit of a readers’ bonus — “Singhbury’s” in the Wirral town of Wallasey.

We are reliably informed by Legal Cheek’s reserve of IP specialists that neither of these local grocers is likely to be troubled by an army of supermarket in-house lawyers.

“Nobody could be seriously confused here,” commented one. “Nor do the signs taint the Tesco or Sainsbury’s trademarks. So the store owners may well be in the clear.”

Others might suggest that Tesco’s legal team will have so much else on its plate that chucking cease and desist letters around the country’s high streets is not a priority.

Not only has the supermarket giant just announced its worst financial results since Noah popped into his local branch for several hundredweight of animal feed, it is facing high-profile legal actions.

The first relates to the senior team’s acknowledgement that the company overstated last year’s profits. And last week the Bloomberg news agency reported that the business faces possible legal action after allegedly conducting disciplinary hearings — which in some cases led to sackings — via email.


Yet another copyright infringement has surfaced on Twitter [Legal Cheek]