I suspect many who teach torts elect, as I do these days, to not cover the tort of passing off, as it is usually dealt with in IP courses. But since it is indeed a tort action I thought it
was worth noting the recent decision of the UK Supreme Court in Starbucks (HK) Ltd & Anor v British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC & Ors  UKSC 31 (13 May 2015) http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2015/31.html .
Here a Hong Kong provider of TV online under the brand “Now” (the connection with the famous coffee retailer Starbucks is not apparent, but must be there somewhere), is suing BSkyB in the UK, which proposed to also start an online TV
service using “Now” as part of the name. The claim failed because the Hong Kong firm was held not to have relevant “customers” in the UK, despite having a more than
de minimis “reputation” due to Chinese speakers who watched its shows on Youtube and in other ways over the internet. But those in the UK who were doing this were not paying for the privilege, and hence they did not contribute to the “goodwill” in a
Lord Neuberger (delivering the unanimous judgement for the Court) at  acknowledges that this issue was decided the other way in the Australian decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in Re
Conagra Inc v McCain Foods (Aust) Pty Ltd  FCA 159; (1992) 33 FCR 302 http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/1992/159.html , where reputation alone was held sufficient,
without having to go further and prove that, as at the relevant time, that reputation had generated any income. But his Lordship disagrees, and notes that the High Court of Australia has not considered the issue.
He is correct about that point, although perhaps it is worth noting that Conagra has been
cited in at least 2 High Court decisions for other points without the slightest indication of any doubt as to its correctness: see JT International SA v Commonwealth of Australia  HCA 43
(5 October 2012) and Commissioner of Taxation (Cth) v Murry  HCA 42; 193 CLR 605; 155 ALR 67; 72 ALJR 1065 (16 June 1998). And in the Australian context it was a strong IP court: the bench
involved Gummow J, usually regarded as one of Australia’s most accomplished IP judges, and later on the High Court, and French J, also no slouch in this area and currently Chief Justice of the current High Court. So it will be interesting to see how the Supreme
Court’s decision here is received in Australia.
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