Interflora wins trademark dispute over M&S adverts

Marks & Spencer has lost a long-running trademark dispute with flower delivery network Interflora.

The case hinged on the use by M&S of the word “Interflora” as an advertising keyword. This meant that internet users who searched for the term on Google were directed towards advertisements for the retailer’s own flower delivery services. Interflora’s claim against the chain, which began in 2008, reached the European Court of Justice before being redirected to the High Court in England and Wales for a decision. The court ruled that M&S’s use of “Interflora” to advertise its flowers and gifts website was trademark infringement.

Delivering his verdict, Mr Justice Arnold said: “A significant proportion of the consumers who searched for ‘Interflora’… and then clicked on M&S’s advertisements displayed in response to those searches, were led to believe, incorrectly, that M&S’s service was part of the Interflora network.”

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Iain Connor, a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, which acted for Interflora, said: “It seems prescient that in the week of the Chelsea Flower show, the court has decided in favour of Interflora, ruling that M&S infringed the ‘Interflora’ trade mark by using it to promote M&S flowers on the internet using the Google AdWords programme.

“I am delighted for Interflora, which has worked very hard for this decision in the five years since this action began.”

Interflora has a network of 1,800 florists across the UK and Ireland.

The case is expected to return to court later in the year to decide damages and costs.