The 2013 High Court injunction effectively preventing Marks & Spencer from bidding on the Interflora trademark in the Google advertising programme AdWords remains in place, at least temporarily, the Court of Appeal has said.
Interflora made an application yesterday (12 November), yet to be determined, to maintain the status quo meanwhile.
The Court of Appeal made the order at the same time to send the case back to the High Court for a retrial, a decision it originally made last week, in the latest development in what has been six years of acrimony between the two brands.
The row began in 2008 when M&S paid Google to configure its AdWords programme so that advertisements for its own flower services would be triggered and displayed to internet users when they searched on Google for words such as “Interflora” and “Interflora flowers”.
Michael Barringer, Interflora’s marketing director, said: “The court agreed with us that the protection of the Interflora trademark raised a serious issue to be tried and confirmed the test that the lower court must apply at the retrial.
“Interflora continues to believe that the evidence before the court supports a finding of infringement and we are going forward on that basis to the retrial.”
He said the company continued to operate its brand enforcement programme to ensure that consumers who searched for Interflora online only saw results for the Interflora range of products and services.
An M&S spokeswoman said: “We are very pleased with today’s decision, which vindicates our belief that our use of the Interflora trademark as a Google AdWord was fair competition.”
The Grocer understands the next hearing before the High Court is due on 19 November. The date of the retrial, however, is still to be decided.