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L'Oréal SA v Bellure NV

[2007] EWCA Civ 968

Case summary last updated at 02/02/2020 20:36 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case L'Oréal SA v Bellure NV

C, L’Oreal, manufactured high quality perfumes. D imported ‘smell-a-likes’ marketed with very similar names and packaging to that of C’s perfumes. 
1)     C alleged D was guilty of passing off, as the smell-a-likes were ‘instruments of deception’ that could be falsely sold by vendors as L’Oreal’s perfume. 
2)     Alternatively, C claimed there should be tort of “unfair competition” in English law which requires no misrepresentation.
Instruments of Deception
·        Goods only constitute ‘instruments of deception’ for purposes of passing off if they themselves make a false representation.
Ø  i.e. goods themselves must be so inherently deceptive that their existence on market place alone constitutes passing off.
Ø  e.g. by reason of name or packaging.
·        Thus fact that a third party may use a good to commit passing offdoes not make creator of good liable for passing off. 
·        On facts, goods sold by D were not instruments of deception.

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