Passing Off

Passing off protects trade reputation under the common law position rather than statute law. A claim can be commenced when an individual supplies goods or services and presents them as the owners’ goods and services; for example, by using a similar name. The reason this is a legal offence is because the individual is trading on the owners’ goodwill. This could result in the owner losing business.


Both parties must be in a trade or business. This means that it is not an offence should an individual portray his goods to be the owners to a private individual.

Secondly, the owner must have established goodwill in his goods and services. This goodwill must be damaged by the individual.

There is a geographical limitation otherwise the potential claim field could be extravagant. Geographical applies both area and activity wise. An individual may not be committing an offence should he use a similar business name in a different field area.


If a claim for passing off is raised, the accused individual will usually defend their claim by denying part of the elements within the definition of passing off; such as the owner not having goodwill or that the individual’s actions have not caused any damage.


If an owner believes that his goods and services have been passed off by an individual, the usual remedies available to the owner are damages (for loss) and an injunction to prevent the individual from continuing to pass off the owner’s goods and services.

Video On Commercial Law
Seatons Solicitors – The Friendly Professionals

Latest Articles About Commercial Law

Packaging Firm Fined £4 Million For Workplace Injury

Health and Safety is regarded as paramount and any breach will be punished as judges made clear in the following case where a worker lost his toes by industrial machinery. The packaging firm was fined a significant amount of money.

Restrictive Covenants Stymie Care Home Plans

Restrictions on the use of land are to be found in title deeds dating back many years – but their antiquity does not necessarily mean they are any less effective.

Victoria’s Secret Wrests Confusing Web Address from Beauty Therapist

International brands require huge investment to establish and traders, big and small, cannot expect to get away with taking unauthorised advantage of their goodwill.

Bakery Boss Punished for Making Illegitimate Use of Rival’s Equipment

The law positively encourages business competition, but there are limits and judges are active in policing the line of acceptability.
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt
Search in comments
Filter by Custom Post Type
Why Use Seatons?
  • Practical sensible help and information
  • Fixed, competitive and affordable prices
  • We care about you and fight for you
  • Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • We can help resolve your issue quickly & easily