Issue 26, 7 December 2009
The Supreme Court of Appeal’s recent decision in the
But the most interesting part of the judgement is the sharp criticism of the way lawyers run trade mark cases, and how they allow costs to soar by filing loads of paper. A while back the Appeal Court complained bitterly about the fact that 720 pages had been filed, not to mention 57 pages of Heads of Argument, in a case that the judge contemptuously described as one brought by a company about the ‘wrapping of its coconut biscuits.’
‘Trade mark cases have developed into paper wars, in the apparent belief that the weight of papers of the respective parties determines the merits.’
‘Practitioners are paid to determine what the case is about and to make a value judgement about what is required and what not, and not only to photocopy documents. This should serve as a final warning also for counsel who tell us to read unnecessary paper.’
The problem isn’t limited to court documents of course! Look at your average cease and desist letter, which simply says ‘If you don’t stop doing what you're doing, we’ll get quite cross’ but runs to three pages. Or your average opinion, which says ‘You might have a case, but then again you might not’, which will run to ten pages or more. This ‘charge by the word’ and ‘bull$%*# baffles brains’ thinking really has to stop.
I’ve said enough!