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10 November 2010

Global brands should win in priceless domain name gold rush

The UK domain registry is preparing to auction key terms to owners of identical trademarks as it plans to release appetizing one- and two-character domain names. The likes of BP, British Airways, General Electric and H&M, each known worldwide by their two-letter acronyms, are well positioned to obtain priceless registrations - so long as they are prepared to pay for them.

04 November 2010

IP experts snub trademarks in high-level policy debate

Just a stone's throw from the British parliament building, a stimulating policy debate about the place of intellectual property in the UK economy occurred yesterday. However, trademark owners will be disappointed: although the distinguished panel agreed that intellectual property is key to economic and social prosperity, trademarks and brands were pushed aside. The experts on show gave only a fleeting moment's consideration for brands, which contribute £15 billion to the UK economy and employ one million people, according to the government.

10 June 2010

Will BP, Mars and British Airways win in the latest domain landrush?

Few brands are powerful enough to require only one or two characters for consumers to recognize them. Among this select group are some of the world's most distinctive brands: BA, BP, HP, M&Ms and VW. These brands and their two-character peers may have solid trademark protection but will that be enough in the new '.co.uk' domain space?

08 June 2010

First communiqué from new UK IP minister dodges trademarks

The minister appointed by the new British government to cover intellectual property has written a brief statement outlining the importance of her new beat. It is delightful to see Baroness Judith Wilcox acknowledge that "since the mid-1990s, UK firms of all types have been investing more in ‘knowledge’ or intangible assets than they have in traditional capital". Other governments around the world would do well to recognize this, but so few have ministers whose role specifically includes intellectual property - even though the new government adapted the portfolio somewhat.

17 May 2010

UK ponders trademark protection for two-character domains

With the UK yet to release one- and two-character domains, registry Nominet is canvassing for feedback on the proposed introduction process. Brand owners would be advised to get involved to avoid a repeat of the German experience, where the lack of a sunrise period resulted in a free-for-all for key domains.

28 April 2010

Difficulties arising from sale of assets to different parties highlighted

In Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation v MG Sports & Racing Europe Ltd, the High Court has decided in favour of Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation in its claim for trademark infringement and passing off against MG Sports & Racing Europe Ltd. Among other things, the court held that since Nanjing was the rightful owner of the MG marks, MG Sports could not have acquired them from MG Rover.

23 March 2010

UK brands plot world domination, impeded by red tape

UK business leaders and government wince when they hear that only four of the top 100 global brands are from the United Kingdom. The poor standing is starker still when viewed alongside the United Kingdom's rivals France (8) and Germany (11). But efforts are now afoot to improve this embarrassing situation, according to a new report into how the United Kingdom can improve its IP regime to create a warmer environment for domestic brands.

09 September 2009

France Telecom/Deutsche Telekom co-branding strategy revealed

Details describing the "coexistence" of the two UK mobile phone brands to be merged in a proposed joint venture between France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom have surfaced. There is no indication of what the merger will mean for the trademark teams or practices at the respective companies, Orange UK and T-Mobile UK.

09 December 2008

London’s police force announces trademark licensing plans

London's Metropolitan Police Service has issued the first licence for its NEW SCOTLAND YARD mark for use on a variety of branded merchandise.

01 August 2008

Boxing clever: Lonsdale in split decision

In Leofelis SA v Lonsdale Sports Ltd, a case involving the complex licensing arrangements relating to the LONSDALE marks, the Court of Appeal for England and Wales has partly allowed the defendants' appeal of the trial judge's decision. Among other things, the court held that the defendants had not made misrepresentations during certain licensing negotiations.

05 April 2007

LONSDALE mark licensor hit by licensee's damages claim

In Leofelis SA v Lonsdale Sports Ltd, the High Court of England and Wales has upheld the plaintiff licensee's claim for damages against the licensor of the LONSDALE mark. The court held, among other things, that when granting the plaintiff a licence to use the mark, the licensor had failed to disclose that it had already conferred rights in the mark to a third party.

15 September 2006

Microsoft licensing not anti-competitive, rules UK court

A High Court judge has granted Microsoft's request for summary judgment in a case of copyright and trademark infringement. The case demonstrates that although Microsoft is currently in bad odour with the European Commission for its anti-competitive conduct, competition law cannot always be relied on by those opposing the IT giant.

24 May 2006

KLAUS KOBEC decision issued by High Court

In Fields v Klaus Kobec Ltd, the High Court of England and Wales has issued a decision in relation to use of the mark KLAUS KOBEC on watches, which serves as a reminder that (i) the right to trade under a brand following termination of a sales and marketing agreement should be clearly delineated, and (ii) a court will be reluctant to infer ownership of a mark which differs from that registered.

10 May 2004

Promise following asset purchase grants HERR-VOSS licence

In Blue IP Inc v KCS Herr Voss UK Ltd, the UK High Court has dismissed the plaintiff's claim for an injunction restraining the defendant from (i) using the mark HERR-VOSS, and (ii) registering or carrying on business under the name Herr-Voss. The court held that the defendant was entitled to use the mark and name as a result of a licence provided in correspondence as part of an asset purchase by the defendant.

30 April 2004

Appointed Person makes first reference to ECJ

An appointed person of the UK Patent and Trademark Office has for the first time referred a question to the ECJ. David Kitchin requested that the ECJ clarify whether the confusion that results from the sale of a business and assignment of a trademark associated with a particular individual's name to an unconnected party amounts to "lawful deception" in the meaning of the Community Trademark Directive.