LONDON - The London office of McDermott Will & Emery is advising Inter Lotto UK Limited, in a high profile case against Camelot Group plc (the UK National Lottery operator). Inter Lotto received a favorable judgment in the Court of Appeal in a precedent setting case in the areas of trademark law and passing off.
Inter Lotto, a company managing lotteries on behalf of charities, took action against Camelot for trademark infringement and passing off in respect of Camelot's use of HOTPICKS in one of its lottery games. The case threw up a preliminary issue which was resolved by Mr. Justice Laddie in Inter Lotto's favor on June 6, 2003. The decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal on a fast-track, and the decision, which was also in our client's favor, was given on Wednesday, July 30, 2003.
As a result, Inter Lotto can rely on its sale of hundreds of thousands of lottery tickets under their HOT PICK mark, and millions of showings of its promotional videos before Camelot first started to promote its HOTPICKS game in April 2002.
The case is of legal interest because it confirmed that passing off and trademark infringement are different causes of action and are separately litigable. It also proved that it is possible for an owner of a registered trademark to be prevented from using it, because the manner in which it uses the trademark passes off its goods and services as those of a third party.
Inter Lotto is claiming an injunction and damages (estimated in excess of £10 million and rising steeply given Camelot' sales at £5 million per week). The case is now being prepared for trial on the merits.