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Reckitt & Colman Ltd v Borden Inc

[1990] 1 All E.R. 873

Case summary last updated at 02/02/2020 19:57 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Reckitt & Colman Ltd v Borden Inc

C manufactured Jif lemons. D wished to produce lemon juice holders almost identical to those of Jif. C argued that D was passing off. D argued that use of a lemon to hold lemon juice was both common to the trade, and descriptive. Held:
 
·        See notes.
·        On facts:
1)     Use of plastic lemon not‘descriptive’
Ø  Even if the plastic lemon was descriptive, had acquired a secondary meaning
Ø  However in any case probably only words can be descriptive
2)     Use of plastic lemons not ‘common to the trade’
Ø  Plastic lemons were not in general use in UK; Jif was the sole provider
·        Thus D was passing off, and could only market plastic lemons if they had sufficient distinguishing features from Jif.
 

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