Marks & Spencer’s week in court

What a week it’s been for Marks & Spencer. The retailer posted a drop in profits on Tuesday despite a rise in sales over the last twelve months prompting chief executive Marc Bolland to declare that the future lies in cyberspace and not on the high street.

Ironic then that on the same day the High Court brought to an end a protracted battle between M&S and Interflora over the online florists’ trademark. The retailing giant, the court ruled, should indeed be held liable for the infringement.

The average reasonably well-informed and reasonably observant internet user, it continued, would not be able to decipher between Interflora’s online ads in Google and M&S’ floral advertising.

Perhaps M&S can use some of the tax it looks likely to save after defeating HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. That ruling means that restrictions on M&S’ ability to claim tax relief from losses at its now-defunct German and Belgian units have been relaxed.

Two judgments in one week? They’re not just any disputes, they’re M&S disputes.

Elsewhere in litigation: