Press and Information Division


8 May 2002


Arsenal Football Club and Matthew Reed

Arsenal, a well-known football club in the English Premier League, also nicknamed 'the Gunners', has for a long time been associated with two devices, the shield device and the cannon device.

Since 1989, Arsenal has registered the word trade marks 'Arsenal' and 'Gunners' and the shield and cannon devices for a class of products comprising articles of outer clothing, articles of sports clothing and footwear. Arsenal designs and supplies its own products or has them made and supplied by its network of approved resellers.

Since its commercial and promotional activities in the field of sales of souvenirs and memorabilia under those marks have developed greatly in recent years and provide it with substantial income, Arsenal has also sought to ensure that 'official' products (products manufactured by it or with its authorisation) may be identified clearly, and has endeavoured to persuade its supporters to buy official products only. In addition, the club has brought legal proceedings against traders selling unofficial products.

For 31 years Mr Reed has sold football souvenirs and memorabilia, almost all marked with one or more Arsenal emblems. Mr Reed, who owns several stalls located outside the grounds of Highbury, Arsenal's stadium, was able to obtain from KT Sports, licensed by Arsenal to sell its products to vendors around Highbury, only very small quantities of official Arsenal products. In 1991 and 1995 Arsenal had unofficial articles of Mr Reed's confiscated.

Arsenal considered that by selling the unofficial scarves Mr Reed had both committed 'passing off'1 and infringed its trade marks. It therefore brought proceedings against him in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Chancery Division.

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Chancery Division, decided to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Communities for a preliminary ruling on the question whether or not non-trade mark use can constitute infringement of registered trade mark rights.

The hearing in the present proceedings will take place in plenary session at 9.30 a.m. on 14 May 2002. A report for the hearing will be available in the language of the procedure (English).

If you want to participate, please send the annexed form by fax before Monday, 13 May 2002, 12.00 a.m. to the Press and Information Division of the Court of Justice -
fax number: 00352-4303-2731.


Please note the following;

* the use of mobile phones or other loud electronic devices is not permitted during the hearing;

* the public is requested to remain quiet and seated throughout the hearing or ceremony;

* photography and filming are authorised only at the very beginning of the hearing (seating of the President and parties only);

* the use of flash or supplementary lighting systems is not permitted;

* if numerous photographers and cameramen are interested, a "pool" may be arranged by the Press and Information Division;

* photographers and cameramen may not move around the hearing room in order to take photographs or to film;

* press are asked to use the Thomas More entrance, Boulevard Konrad Adenauer.



Accreditation to be sent by fax to: 00 352 4303 2734
Contact: Ms Zaïra Penders
Tel: 00 352 4303 3127



Press Agency / Organisation:


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Do you seek authorisation to photograph?
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Do you seek authorisation to film?
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In principle, your application will be accepted, unless you are otherwise informed by the Court.

    1    A cause of action in tort against the conduct of a third party which is misleading in such a way that a large number of persons have believed or been led to believe that articles sold by the third party are those of the claimant or are sold with his authorisation or have a commercial association with him.