Shamrock Gift Company goes to court over ‘Wacky Woollies’ sheep

It claims British firm has infringed trademarks

A dispute over products featuring images of colourful cartoon sheep has come before the Commercial Court.

The Shamrock Gift Company (SGC), an Irish company, claims a British company has infringed trademarks in relation to SGC's "Wacky Woollies" range which features colourful cartoon sheep on souvenirs and gifts.

The Shamrock Gift Company [ trading house], with registered offices at Fonthill Industrial Park, Dublin, has sued Elgate Products Ltd, with registered offices at Delandale House, Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom on grounds including alleged infringement of the Irish registered trade marks and alleged passing off.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern agreed on Monday to admit the case to the fast track Commercial Court.


In its action, SGC, wants orders restraining Elgate infringing the Irish registered trademarks which comprise images of cartoon sheep. It also seeks injunctions restraining Elgate passing off goods as goods of SGC by means of packaging or marketing materials bearing images of cartoon sheep and a get up similar to that of SGC’s Wacky Woolies range of products.

It wants further orders directing delivery up to it of all goods, packaging, products, materials or articles which allegedly infringe SGC’s intellectual property rights and which are in the possession of Elgate.

Jonathan Newman SC, for Elgate, said it is counterclaiming the trademark registrations at issue are invalid.

In its action, SGC says it has been in business since 1998 and markets a vast array of merchandise, including souvenirs, gift and novelty items.

It says it has since 2007 promoted, marketed and sold in Ireland a wide variety of such products under the name and trademark Wacky Woollies with images of cartoon sheep which are eye catching, amusing and endearing from the perspective of prospective purchasers.

Shamrock says it commenced the proceedings as a result of Elgate advertising, offering, putting on the market and stocking products branded with images of cartoon sheep which, Shamrock claims, are confusingly similar to those in the Wacky Woollies range.

The offending products include soft toys, purses, bottle openers, puzzle cubes, stationery sets, bags, magnets mugs, playing cards as well as canvas bags, pens, tea towels and oven mitts, it is claimed.

The case will come back before the court in July.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times