Sport Direct's Use Of Trade Name And Website Causes Damage To Sportsdirect.com

Author:Mr Thibaut D'hulst
Profession:Van Bael & Bellis
 
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In a judgment of 26 June 2018, the Brussels Court of Appeal held that, by using its trade name "Sport Direct" and its website sportdirect.com for Belgian customers, Sport Direct BV ("Sport Direct") was causing damage to the Belgian company Sportsdirect.com Belgium NV ("Sportsdirect.com").

The dispute arose between Sportsdirect.com, the Belgian division of an international group operating shops in Europe selling, inter alia, sports and outdoor apparel, and Sport Direct, a Dutch company offering similar goods for sale to consumers in Belgium and Luxembourg. Sportsdirect.com has 45 shops in Belgium, 37 of which operate under the trade name "Sportsdirect.com", and also sells its goods via its websites "sportsdirect.be" and " and also sells its goods via its websites "sportsdirect.be" and "Sportsdirect.com". Sport Direct, for its part, does not operate bricks-and-mortar stores. Instead, it sells its goods via its website "sportdirect.com", to which all its other domain names (including "sportdirect.be", " "sportdirect.be", "sportdirect.nl", " "sportdirect.be", "sportdirect.nl", "sportdirect.eu", etc.) are redirected.

In 2016, Sportsdirect.com brought an action before the President of the Commercial Court of Leuven and argued that Sport Direct was infringing Articles VI.98, 1° and VI.104 of the Belgian Code of Economic Law ("CEL"), which prohibit misleading trade practices and unfair trade practices. In particular, Sportsdirect.com sought a cease-and-desist order against Sport Direct, both as regards the use of its trade name and the use of its website. The Leuven Commercial Court partly sided with which prohibit misleading trade practices and unfair trade practices. In particular, Sportsdirect.com sought a cease-and-desist order against Sport Direct, both as regards the use of its trade name and the use of its website. The Leuven Commercial Court partly sided with Sportsdirect.com and ordered Sport Direct to cease using its trade name. However, contrary to what which prohibit misleading trade practices and unfair trade practices. In particular, Sportsdirect.com sought a cease-and-desist order against Sport Direct, both as regards the use of its trade name and the use of its website. The Leuven Commercial Court partly sided with Sportsdirect.com and ordered Sport Direct to cease using its trade name. However, contrary to what Sportsdirect.com had claimed, the Leuven Commercial Court refused to prevent Sport Direct from selling its goods via its...

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