Shamrock Gift Company settles dispute with Allied Imports
Dispute centred on use of “Wacky Woollies” trade mark
A selection of mugs as seen in the Wacky Woolies catalogue - which was referenced as part of a High Court action between The Shamrock Gift Company and Allied Imports Ltd.(Photograph: Courts Collins)
A company that markets and sells products using images of cartoon sheep characters under the trade mark “Wacky Woollies” has settled its action against another firm over putting products on the market under the name “Woolie Wellies”.
The Shamrock Gift Company [Trading House], Fonthill Industrial Park, Dublin, had sued Allied Imports Ltd, based at Northwest Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin, on grounds including alleged breach of its Community Trade Mark and passing off.
The case was transferred to the Commercial Court last March but Mr Justice Brian McGovern was told on Monday by Paul Coughlan BL, for Shamrock, it had settled. The judge granted counsel’s application to strike out the proceedings with no order.
In its action, Shamrock claimed it has been in business since 1998 and markets merchandise, including souvenir, gift and novelty items.
Since 2007, it has promoted, marketed and sold various products under the name and trade mark, Wacky Woollies. Images of cartoon sheep characters on those products made them eye-catching, amusing and/or endearing from the perspective of prosective purchasers, it said.
The brand was so popular the number of products rose from 11 in 2007 to 108 last year with another 16 to be added this year, it said. About 80 per cent of the products are sold in about 178 retail outlets here while the rest are sold in outlets in the UK, Germany, US and Dubai.
Shamrock claimed the defendant had put on the market products under the sign Woolie Wellies which, it was alleged, was confusingly similar to Wacky Woollies. The Woolie Wellies products include magnets, a rugby ball, a mug, a pencil-shape pencil case, a jumbo pen and charm keyrings.
It alleged the sign “Woolie Wellies”, and use of images of cartoon sheep characters on the defendant’s products, amounted to appropriation of the plaintiff’s goodwill and misrepresentation likely to lead members of the trade and public to confuse the Wacky Woollies products with “Woolie Wellies”.