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07 April 2006

Issue estoppel may prevent use of certain arguments in court

In Special Effects Ltd v L'Oréal SA, the High Court of England and Wales has ruled that a party can be issue-estopped by proceedings in the Trademarks Registry from running the same arguments in a dispute between the same parties in any subsequent litigation. The decision could have important consequences for trademark disputes.

05 April 2006

Design and trademark regulatory reform order is imminent

The UK Parliament is considering amendments to the Registered Designs Act 1949 (c 88) in order to end substantive examination for novelty and allow multiple applications, among other things. In addition, two regulatory instruments will come into force this week. Both aim at cutting down red tape with regard to trademark and design applications.

14 March 2006

Insufficient evidence of reputation kills opposition to E! ONLINE

The High Court has upheld a decision to reject Deutsche Telekom AG's opposition to the registration of the mark E! ONLINE on the grounds that Deutsche Telekom had failed to establish that it had a reputation in T-ONLINE, the mark on which its opposition was based. The decision illustrates the importance of submitting accurate evidence when opposing a trademark application, especially when attempting to establish a reputation in a mark.

24 February 2006

Let off for FCUK in cancellation claim

The UK Trademarks Registry has rejected an action to revoke the mark FCUK, registered for watches and jewellery in Class 14 of the Nice Classification. The registry dismissed the claim that FCUK was an immoral mark barred from registration under Section 3(3)(a) of the Trademarks Act.

16 December 2005

MOO JUICE Case highlights proof of use initial requirements

In Almighty Marketing Ltd v Milk Link, the High Court for England and Wales has affirmed that the requirements to show proof of use following receipt of a non-use revocation application are not strict as to the specific documentary evidence that must be produced, but merely require that the evidence, considered as a whole, establishes that the proprietor has an arguable defence to the application.

29 November 2005

Manchester United boss suffers trademark defeat

The UK Trademarks Registry has refused to allow Manchester United Football Club manager Sir Alex Ferguson to register his name as a trademark for certain goods in Class 16 of the Nice Classification, namely "image carriers", such as posters and photographs. The registry held that the mark was "descriptive of the subject matter of the goods" and "devoid of any distinctive character".

24 November 2005

Shape marks for confectionery rejected

August Storck AG has failed with two separate applications to register the three-dimensional shapes of confectionery products as trademarks. In each case, the hearing officer at the Trademarks Registry held that the proposed shape mark lacked distinctiveness.

02 November 2005

Community Design Regulations 2005 implemented

The Community Design Regulations 2005, supplementing the Registered Designs Act 1949, have come into force in the United Kingdom. Among other things, the new regulations help to ensure that Community design laws, specifically the Community Design Directive and the Council Regulation on Community Designs, have the necessary checks and balances for them to work correctly in the United Kingdom.

25 October 2005

Rules on marks that cover tobacco and non-tobacco products issued

The UK Patent Office has published a Practice Amendment Notice in respect of trademark applications covering tobacco products or applications for trademarks that cover non-tobacco products where the trademark is the same or similar to an established tobacco brand or product. The amendment has become necessary as a result of recently implemented 'brandsharing' regulations.

07 October 2005

Examination pre-consultation exercise closing today

A pre-consultation exercise, launched by the UK Patent Office, is set to close today. The Patent Office is hoping to establish whether its perception of the strengths and shortcomings of the UK trademark registry's current trademark application system is widely shared by users of the system. In particular, the trademarks registry is seeking feedback on whether it should continue to examine applications on relative grounds.

22 September 2005

Distinctiveness only counts if recognized by correct public

The High Court of England and Wales has upheld a decision finding that the shape of a fencing panel was not registrable as a trademark because it lacked distinctiveness. The court held that a shape mark only overcomes its lack of inherent distinctiveness if the average consumer recognizes the shape as originating from a particular trader. Therefore, a survey of trade specialists recognizing the panel as originating from the applicant was irrelevant.

16 September 2005

Plans afoot to protect rights associated with London Olympics

In order to further control the commercial exploitation of the London Olympics, following London's selection as the host city for the 2012 games, the UK government has issued the London Olympics Bill. The bill creates a new IP right, known as the London Olympics association right, which is the right to be associated with the London Olympics.

13 September 2005

LABORATOIRE DE LA MER marks resurface on appeal

In Laboratoires Goëmar SA v La Mer Technology Inc, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has reversed an order of the High Court by holding that the use of a registered mark in relation to a small quantity of goods supplied to a UK distributor pursuant to an arm's length and apparently bona fide sale was sufficient to maintain the mark under Section 46 of the Trademarks Act 1994.

17 June 2005

Trademarks Registry updates practice on names of organizations

The UK Trademarks Registry has issued Practice Amendment Notice 4/05 updating the text of its examination practice relating to names of organizations. While the notice does not change the practice itself, it gives a clearer insight into the way in which the name of an institute, foundation, association or society will be treated on an application to register that name as a trademark.

20 May 2005

Registry reaffirms position on offensive marks

Following the recent UK Trademarks Registry ruling on the registrability of JESUS as a trademark, the registry has issued Practice Amendment Notice 3/05 relating to offensive trademarks. The notice is merely a restatement of the current position as there have been no changes to registry practice following the JESUS Case.