Mishcon secures victory for Jack Wills after bird battle with House of Fraser

Lewis Silkin’s client House of Fraser (HoF) has lost a High Court battle against Jack Wills for infringing its company logo of a pheasant in a top hat and cane. 

Jack Wills logo
Jack Wills logo

Preppy fashion label Jack Wills instructed Mishcon de Reya after finding that a pigeon in a hat logo on some of HoF’s clothing is too similar to its own emblem. Mishcon’s head of IP Jeremy Hertzog instructed Hogarth Chambers’ Roger Wyand QC and Andrew Norris to lead the claim.  

They faced Blackstone Chambers’ Michael Bloch QC and Tom Cleaver, who were instructed by Lewis Silkin for HoF. 

The complaint was that the logo was likely to confuse customers because of the resemblence between the two birds.

In his ruling Mr Justice Arnold said that the resemblance of HoF’s pigeon logo would have “increased the attraction of its goods in circumstances where House of Fraser did not undertake any advertising or promotion of those goods.”

Hertzog said: “This case is a paradigm example of a retailer sailing too close to the wind in aping the get-up of a famous brand for a lookalike product. Jack Wills had to take action to preserve the distinctiveness of its famous pheasant trade mark; had it not done so, the floodgates would have opened to a plethora of other clothing brands using emblems of birds wearing top hats and other human adornments. By winning this case, Jack Wills has marked that out as its territory alone.”