Beverly Hills defeated in polo trademark claim, again

The owner of the Beverly Hills Polo Club fashion brand has lost a trademark dispute for the second time in five months after the England and Wales High Court rejected its claims against a US organisation.

In the judgment in Lifestyle Equities v Greenwich Polo Club, handed down on Monday, May 10, the High Court dismissed claims of passing off and trademark infringement lodged by BHPC against Connecticut-based Greenwich Polo Club, its brand licensing agency, and a director at the company.

According to the court, none of the defendants was liable for infringement.

Lifestyle Equities, the owner of BHPC, alleged infringement of five EU trademarks and one UK mark. In each case, the trademark depicted a man on horseback playing polo with the words ‘Beverley Hills Polo Club’ around the picture.

The goods and services covered by the marks included clothing, headgear, perfumes and sports bags.

According to BHPC, since 2015 the defendants have used or threatened to use signs that also contain “a representation of at least one polo player with a polo stick on a pony” in the UK and EU.

Mr Justice Marcus Smith said in his ruling that the original pleading clearly sought to “spread the web of liability extremely wide” and that the figurative elements of the marks were different.

“The fact is that the rider or riders on a polo horse or horses with polo mallet or mallets does not do anything more than evoke the sport of polo. This is not a case of a Nike ‘swoosh’ or some other purely figurative sign that links to or evokes a particular brand or producer,” he wrote.

This is the second time in five months that Lifestyle Equities has failed in an infringement claim.

In January, Mr Justice Michael Green of the England and Wales High Court found in favour of Amazon in a dispute over the sale and visibility of goods in the UK and EU.

In Lifestyle Equities & Anor v Amazon UK, the court found in favour of Amazon, concluding that the website did not “target” the UK.

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