Hutchison 3G wins IP dispute with O2

Lewis Silkin has won a High Court victory on behalf of Hutchison 3G over the use of bubbles to advertise mobile phone networks.

Partner Giles Crown acted for the company, which runs the 3 network, in its dispute with rival O2. O2 claimed that Hutchison’s use of bubble imagery in a television advertisement infringed its well-known trademark.

But Mr Justice Lewison ruled this morning (23 March) that the advertisement was not misleading and did not infringe new European laws on comparative advertising. He found there was no possibility that a viewer could have confused the two networks, and 3’s advertising did not discredit O2’s trademarks.

The ruling brings to an end years of wrangling between the two companies. Aspects of the case have been heard four times in the High Court since late 2004.

Crown instructed Geoffrey Hobbs QC of One Essex Court. O2 was represented by Wragge & Co, instructing 11 South Square’s Richard Arnold QC.

Bristows partner Paul Walsh acted for O2 at earlier stages of the dispute, instructing Hogarth Chambers’ Alastair Wilson QC.