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13 February 2008

A mark that has been revoked can be cancelled

In T-Mobile (UK) Ltd v O2 Holdings Ltd, the appointed person has held, among other things, that the fact that a party has made an application for revocation of a trademark on the grounds of non-use under Section 46 of the Trademarks Act does not as a matter of course preclude that party from subsequently applying for a declaration of invalidity of the same mark under Section 47.

12 December 2007

UK IPO issues £112,000 costs award warning

In a decision involving invalidity and opposition actions brought by Target Brands Inc against registrations and applications by Music Choice Limited, the UK IPO has made a cost award that was significantly higher than the usual awards associated with these types of actions. Target was found to have failed to substantiate any of its grounds and was penalized for having been vexatious and/or unreasonable.

26 October 2007

IPO issues Tribunal Practice Notice on undefended invalidity applications

The UK IPO has published a Tribunal Practice Notice on undefended applications for a declaration of invalidity. If the owner of a trademark against which a declaration of invalidity has been filed does not file a counterstatement, the registrar will notify that no counterstatement has been filed and that the registration in suit will be declared invalid unless the proprietor files a request for a hearing or written submissions.

24 October 2007

Consultation on fast-track procedure for trademark applications

The UK IPO has launched a public consultation on proposals to introduce fast-track processing of patents and trademarks. The IPO proposes that, for an additional premium, it will examine new trademark applications within 10 business days of receiving the correctly completed application form together with the correct fee.

01 October 2007

Relative grounds examination ended for UK marks

Important changes to the UK trademark examination system come into force today with the implementation of the Trademarks (Relative Grounds) Order 2007. As of today, trademark applications are no longer examined on relative grounds. The change brings the UK registration regime closer in line with that of the Community trademark system.

25 July 2007

EMILIO PUCCI tries to pick bone with PUCCI

An appointed person of the UK Intellectual Property Office has rejected an appeal by Emilio Pucci Srl against the dismissal of its opposition to an application to register the sign PUCCI as a UK trademark. The appointed person held that there was no likelihood of confusion between PUCCI and the earlier mark EMILIO PUCCI, and there was no evidence that the earlier mark had a reputation that would warrant extended protection.

13 July 2007

Direct Line's device mark opposition upheld by High Court

In esure International Ltd v Direct Line Insurance plc, the High Court of England and Wales has upheld an earlier decision allowing Direct Line's opposition against the registration of a device consisting of a computer mouse on wheels by its competitor, esure. The court held that esure's mark would have a detrimental effect on the distinctive character of Direct Line's device mark consisting of a telephone on wheels.

18 June 2007

WISI opposition against WI-FI dismissed

An appointed person of the UK IP Office has upheld a decision to reject oppositions against registration of the word mark WI-FI and a device mark featuring that word. He found that the opposing WISI mark was unlikely to be confused with either the word or device WI-FI marks, even though he disagreed with the hearing officer's conclusion that the marks were not similar simply because they were not visually similar.

15 June 2007

Trademarks (Relative Grounds) Order 2007 published

The UK Intellectual Property Office has published the Trademarks (Relative Grounds) Order 2007, draft legislation that is expected to be introduced in October 2007. The legislation changes the way in which applications for new UK trademarks are examined against earlier conflicting marks, chiefly by abolishing relative grounds checks. It thereby brings the UK registration regime closer in line with that of Community trademarks.

13 June 2007

Disappearance of goodwill in 'Mythbusters' term means no passing off

In Knight v Beyond Properties Pty Ltd, the High Court of England and Wales has issued a ruling on a passing off case involving use of the term 'Mythbusters'. The court held that as the claimant had not engaged in any significant use of the term since 1996, any rights he had in the term had been lost by November 2003, which was the date of first use of the term in the United Kingdom by the defendants.

09 May 2007

New name shows that UK office is about all IP rights

The UK Patent Office has changed its name to the UK Intellectual Property Office as proposed in the Gowers Review under Recommendation 53. The change is designed to reflect the breadth of functions and services that the office has, including responsibility for designs and copyright, and to dispel confusion among IP rights holders.

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.

22 March 2007

ELLE for knitting yarns approved by High Court

In Hachette Filipacchi Presse SA v Saprotex International (Proprietary) Limited, the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales has dismissed an appeal by the publisher of Elle magazine against the registration of the trademark ELLE in relation to knitting wools and yarns. The case affirms that if there is no similarity between the products confusion between the marks at issue is unlikely.

09 March 2007

Trademark Act clarification issued by High Court

The High Court has issued useful guidance on Sections 5(2) and 48 of the Trademarks Act 1994. In relation to a likelihood of confusion under Section 5(2), the court held that "there has to be a positive finding of the existence of a likelihood of confusion". While, with reference to acquiescence under Section 48, it noted that the five-year acquiescence period did not begin to run until registration of the later mark in issue.

07 March 2007

Inferences can be drawn in bad-faith matters

In Target Fixings Ltd v Brutt Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, the Appointed Person, on appeal from a decision of the UK Patent Office, has affirmed, among other things, that (i) the standard of proof in trademark disputes is on the balance of probabilities, and (ii) when deciding on whether a party has acted in bad faith, it may be both necessary and proper to rely upon inferences.