In this case, GeoSmart sought and obtained an injunction restraining goSmart from using the name "goSmart" in trade. GeoSmart based its argument on passing off and breach of the Fair Trading Act 1986.
GeoSmart is a locally and internationally well known designer and supplier of maps and mapping services, including the display of business points of interest over Google web maps, a service it had been providing since 2003. The Court accepted that GeoSmart had significant goodwill and reputation in the GeoSmart name in its field of business.
goSmart was by contrast a start-up company that had operated since January 2011. It offered an identical service to GeoSmart's display of business points of interest service under its "goSmart" name and logo.
goSmart was initially represented by its owner but not represented at all at the main hearing. As might be expected, matters did not go its way. The Court had no hesitation in finding that "goSmart" was confusingly similar to GeoSmart and both passing off and a breach of section 9 of the Fair Trading Act 1986 were made out. A broad injunction was granted "restraining goSmart from using the name and logo 'goSmart' in any manner and from using and continuing to use and operate any website with reference to goSmart, in particular the website www.gosmart.co.nz".
Failing to have proper or any representation before a Court can be disastrous, as this case shows. However, the greater failure in this case seems to be a failure by goSmart to make proper due diligence, including a trade mark clearance search, before adopting the goSmart name in the face of the well established GeoSmart name.