Merck v. Merck: infringements in the digital age

June 2020

London Associate Ellen Hughes-Jones authored an article for World Trademark Review examining the long-running trademark dispute, Merck KGaA v Merck Sharp & Dohme, in which the judgment addresses how a 1970 agreement would operate in the internet age. The agreement, which had still governed the two companies Merck Global and Merck US, allows each company to operate within each other’s territory provided it uses its full name and is geographically identified. According to Hughes-Jones, the High Court had to consider two particular issues that pertained to the 1970 agreement and the age of the internet and social media, including infringement “in the course of trade.” Hughes-Jones concluded that the case ruling confirmed “that use of a trademark on websites and social media that are accessible by users in the United Kingdom can constitute “in the course of trade” even when no actual product bearing the mark is sold or supplied in the United Kingdom, and that such use is unlikely to be considered de minimis.”

To read the article, click here. This article first appeared on WTR Daily, part of World Trademark Review, in June 2020.