The claimant in this case owned two trade marks of a GRENADE word mark and logo mark for sports energy drinks. It claimed for passing off against a company that was supplying energy drinks using the name "Grenade", and who admitted trade mark infringement, but argued that the sole director and shareholder of the corporate defendant should not be held jointly liable for the acts of his company.

The judge held that the director has actively co-operated with his company to commit the acts of passing off and TM infringement and intended that his co-operation should bring about those acts, and was therefore jointly liable for them.

The lessons? Directors should ensure they monitor their company's activities for acts that might amount to infringement of someone else's trade mark (or other intellectual property) as they are usually personally liable for any such infringement, jointly with their company.

The case? Grenade (UK) Ltd v Grenade Energy Ltd and another [2016] EWHC 877 (IPEC), 4 March 2016