When a fellow by the name of E. Bateman ordered a pair of what he claimed he thought were authentic Nike shoes, he received a lawsuit instead.
A shipment of Nike trainers were confiscated at the UK border and Nike decided to go after each of the individual purchasers of the fake shoes.
Bateman was the only dude who decided to fight the case, reasoning:
“I ordered the training shoes over the internet believing them to be authentic. I had no idea they were counterfeit. I have never received any goods and will not be ordering any more.”
But unfortunately for Bateman, buyer’s intent is inconsequential under UK trademark law and the judge in his case had this to say:
“Whether or not the defendant believed the goods were authentic is irrelevant to the question of trade mark infringement. Whether the goods are infringing goods or counterfeit goods is an objective question. The Defendant’s state of mind does not matter. Equally the Defendant’s state of mind is irrelevant to the question of importation.Whether or not the defendant believed the goods were authentic is irrelevant to the question of trade mark infringement. Whether the goods are infringing goods or counterfeit goods is an objective question. The Defendant’s state of mind does not matter. Equally the Defendant’s state of mind is irrelevant to the question of importation.”
The judge further opined however on the Nike lawsuit:
“The first point that arises is that it seems to me that it is likely that this case arises from a single purchase by E Bateman of a single pair of trainers over the internet. There is nothing in the evidence to suggest that this is not such a case. It may be questioned whether the sledge hammer of these proceedings is necessary in order to crack this nut of this magnitude but Nike’s representative Mr Elmslie explained, and I accept, that brand owners in this situation have no realistic alternative to enforcing their rights this way. Accordingly although this appears to be the smallest of cases, nevertheless the Claimant is entitled to bring proceedings.”
Bateman closes by reiterating his purchase was a simple mistake and asks for the case to be transfered to a local county court. He also mentions “trademount.com” as the main contact source of his counterfeit sneaker supplier. At the time of this posting, the domain trademount.com resolves to a holding page through its registrar GoDaddy.com. Trademount.com’s registrant is listed to a “yihsien han” of Cerritos, California.
Blah, blah, blah. The judge denies the move and issues a summary judgment victory in favor of Nike for a single pair of counterfeit shoes.
So all said, if you live in the UK and like getting Nike beaters on the cheap, you may want to reconsider.
See the full Nike v Bateman docket at the England and Wales Patent County Court website.