The High Court decision in Health World on the meaning of “person aggrieved” is now available online.
The High Court unanimously allowed the appeal. It found that Health World was a person aggrieved and remitted the matter to the Full Court of the Federal Court for determination of the remaining issues.
The High Court overruled Kraft’s case to the extent it held that McLelland J’s test in Ritz was exhaustive, namely that a person claiming to be aggrieved “must demonstrate … at least a reasonable possibility of being ‘appreciably disadvantaged in a legal or practical sense’ by the trade mark remaining on the Register”.
French CJ, Gummow, Heydon and Bell JJ in a joint judgment adopted Lord Pearce’s test in Daiquiri Rum that the person claiming to be aggrieved, and the proprietor, are, in the High Court’s words, “rivals in relation to the goods to which the mark applied. It did not matter whether or not they intended to use the mark on those goods.” Importantly, the High Court said that this test, too, was non-exhaustive – it is “one test, among others, for ascertaining whether a person is ‘aggrieved’.”
Crennan J delivered a short judgment in which she generally agreed with the other four Justices, but construed Lord Pearce’s test more narrowly. She said that there must be the potential for or actuality of an affect on the business of the person claiming to be aggrieved. She concluded that Health World satisfied that narrower test and accordingly it was not necessary to decide the broader test.
UPDATE: Mallesons has now published an Alert on this decision here.