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05 January 2016

IPEC finds marks descriptive in dispute between educational charities

In NOCN (Formerly National Open College Network) v Open College Network Credit4Learning, a trademark infringement and passing-off dispute between two educational charities concerning the use of the term 'Open College Network' and its abbreviation 'OCN', the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has held that neither party could claim trademark rights or goodwill in either term due to their wholly descriptive nature.

14 December 2015

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, exclusive rights to designs can be established either through unregistered design protection (consisting of both EU and national UK unregistered rights) or by filing an application for: a UK registered design; a registered Community design; an international application to register a design through the Hague System, designating the European Community (the Intellectual Property Act 2014 includes a provision enabling the United Kingdom to join the Hague System).

23 October 2015

High Court ruling has Champagne Louis Roederer reaching for the CRISTAL

In Champagne Louis Roederer v J Garcia Carrion SA, the High Court has ruled that Champagne Louis Roederer’s UK and CTM registrations for CRISTAL were infringed by J Garcia Carrion’s importation into and sale in the United Kingdom of cava under the mark CRISTALINO. The ruling in relation to reputation-based infringement will be welcomed, in particular, by luxury brand owners.

18 September 2015

United Kingdom

UK trademark law differs in several important respects from the law in other EU member states, despite the implementation by the UK Trademarks Act 1994 (as amended) of the EU Trademarks Directive (89/104/EEC) (now codified in Directive 2008/95/EC) to approximate the laws of EU member states.

18 September 2015

Consistency and continuity: the true voice of brand owners

MARQUES, the European Association of Trademark Owners, is recognised in the IP community as an authoritative voice for brand owners in Europe and beyond.

18 September 2015

The impact of technology on brands

Think for a moment about how profoundly technology has changed the brand landscape. Just a couple of decades ago, companies looking to reach a national audience would have to spend millions on television and print advertising, direct mail or catalogues.

06 August 2015

Beano hopes that Pixar responds to its comic approach to guerrilla marketing

This week British comic The Beano has built on its “classically cheeky” reputation with a series of marketing stunts that ‘gently parodies’ new Pixar movie Inside Out. Unusually for a campaign that ambushes a third party’s marketing campaign, The Beano's editor-in-chief has told World Trademark Review he hopes the target reacts to it.

16 July 2015

Go Outdoors: descriptiveness and lack of distinctiveness are distinct grounds for refusal

In Go Outdoors v Skechers, the High Court has upheld the decision of the UKIPO that the marks GO RUNNING and GO WALKING are not capable of being registered as trademarks for retail services in Class 35, as both marks lack distinctive character. This decision is a reminder that, while Section 3(1)(b) and Section 3(1)(c) of the Trademarks Act are often considered together, the two are distinct grounds for refusal subject to a separate treatment.

14 July 2015

IPEC offers 'surprising' interpretation of ONEL in Sofa Workshop case

In The Sofa Workshop Ltd v Sofaworks Ltd, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has held that two CTMs for SOFA WORKSHOP were invalidly registered and liable to be revoked on the grounds of non-use, since the marks had only been used in the United Kingdom. Judge Hacon’s interpretation of the ECJ’s ONEL decision is surprising and appears to contradict the established interpretation of this judgment.

27 May 2015

Average consumer will understand 'origin' as referring to origin of goods

In Whyte & MacKay v Origin Wine, the High Court has allowed an appeal against a decision of the hearing officer finding that there was a likelihood of confusion between the mark JURA ORIGIN for whisky and earlier ORIGIN marks for alcoholic beverages. Among other things, the court found that the hearing officer had failed at the outset to consider how the average consumer would understand the word ‘origin’ in the context of the relevant goods.

12 May 2015

VOLVO v REVOLVO spins back to the UKIPO

The appointed person has found fatal flaws in the hearing officer's assessment in a case relating to the marks VOLVO and REVOLVO. Among other things, the appointed person felt it was 'inescapable' that rejection of the Section 5(4)(a) ground of opposition had been based purely on a determination of the Section 5(2)(b) ground. The case has been returned to the UKIPO for a fresh assessment.

21 April 2015

Court of Appeal at odds on own name defence and non-use revocation

In Maier v ASOS plc, the Court of Appeal has found that the defendants’ use of the mark ASOS created a likelihood of confusion and damaged the distinctive character of the CTM ASSOS. Nevertheless, by a majority decision, the defendants were held to be able to rely on the 'own name' defence against trademark infringement. Significantly, the court acknowledged the importance of notional and fair use of a mark when assessing infringement and invalidity.

09 March 2015

'Supreme' case highlights dangers of descriptive or laudatory brand names

In Supreme Petfoods Ltd v Henry Bell & Co, the High Court has held that the word mark SUPREME, which was registered for "animal foodstuffs", was invalidly registered as a descriptive or laudatory term for all its specification, except small animal food. The case illustrates the risk of attempting to enforce a trademark which is laudatory or descriptive against use which could be classed as laudatory or descriptive.

09 February 2015

High Court clarifies meaning of 'consent' in context of trademark applications

In Dalsouple Société Saumuroise Du Caoutchouc v Dalsouple Direct Ltd, the Chancery Division of the High Court has clarified the meaning of 'consent' in the context of trademark applications. The decision shows the importance for brand owners of retaining control over the registration of their brand in different territories, particularly where there are local distributors and agents.

30 January 2015

Tesco loses appeal to register CLUBCARD marks

The appointed person has rejected an appeal by Tesco Stores Limited to register the word mark CLUBCARD and the CLUBCARD device. Among other things, the appointed person found that the CLUBCARD marks would not enable an average consumer to distinguish the loyalty scheme of Tesco from that of another trader. The case highlights the difficulties that can be faced in trying to register a non-distinctive term that is widely used in a generic sense.