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Prick up your ears: have you heard the one about the tattoo artist and the cacti shop?

Date: 26 June 2018

By Dr. Janet Strath (Paralegal), Stephanie Foy (Associate Solicitor) and Angela Fox (Partner)


In Henry Martinez t/a Prick v Price Me Baby One More Time Ltd t/a Prick [2018] EWHC 776 (IPEC) (11 April 2018), the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court dismissed a “passing off” claim brought by a tattoo business (trading under the name “Prick Tattoos”) against a retail cactus and succulent plant business (trading under the name “Prick”) because, although the tattoo parlour had generated local goodwill in the PRICK name, there was no real evidence that the cactus business would be confused with the tattoo business.


The IPEC has dismissed a passing off claim brought by Amy Winehouse’s tattooist, Henry Martinez, who traded under the name Prick, against a cactus shop which traded under the same name in the same locality.  On the evidence, there was no material misrepresentation by the cactus shop that the goods and services it offered were somehow authorised by or connected with Mr Martinez or his company.  Her Honour Judge Melissa Clarke agreed with the defendants that it was hard to imagine two businesses with two less closely related activities and, taking into account dissimilarities in their respective get-ups, found that the claimants had failed to discharge the burden of proving that a substantial number of consumers would be deceived into thinking that the businesses were connected.


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