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16 January 2004

DUPONT registration stretches to clothing

In EI Du Pont De Nemours & Company v ST Dupont, the Court of Appeal has dismissed the defendant's opposition to the registration of DUPONT for clothing. It rejected the defendant's claim that DUPONT was not distinctive as it is a common surname in France, stating that the key question was whether DUPONT was capable of distinguishing the relevant goods in the United Kingdom.

13 January 2004

No intention to use mark when filing equals bad faith

In Ferrero SpA v Soldan Holding & Bonbonspezialitaten GmbH, David Kitchin - an appointed person of the UK Patent and Trademark Office - has upheld the hearing officer's decision to invalidate five of Ferrero's KINDER trademark registrations on the grounds that Ferrero did not have any intention of using them at the time of application.

02 December 2003

Virgin successfully opposes diluting VIRGIN OIL mark

In Virgin Enterprises v Virgin Oil Limited, the UK Patent and Trademark Office has upheld Virgin Enterprises' opposition to the registration of the mark VIRGIN OIL on the grounds that it was likely to be confused with the famous VIRGIN mark and would dilute it. The hearing officer considered that Virgin Oil did not have due cause to use the mark.

19 November 2003

'Clothing' is fair description of ANIMAL goods

In H Young (Operations) Limited v Medici Limited, the UK High Court has refused the defendant's claim for partial revocation of the mark ANIMAL. It also ruled that the plaintiff's use of the term 'clothing' as a specification of goods covered by the mark is a fair description, not requiring qualification in any way, despite the fact that use of the mark was confined to surfwear of a casual type.

14 November 2003

Patent Office issues practice notice on registration of designs

The UK Patent Office has issued a practice notice that outlines how examiners are to apply the restrictions on the registration of functional designs in light of the European Court of Justice's decision in the Philips Case. The test for a functional design appears to be whether the technical function dictates the appearance of the product to the extent that there is no design freedom.

10 November 2003

Patent Office opens consultation period on changes to trademark rules

The UK Patent Office has issued a consultation paper and opened a formal consultation period on its proposed changes to the rules relating to, among other things, (i) oppositions to trademark registrations, and (ii) the opposition fee structure.

21 October 2003

Breakthrough in HAVE A BREAK Case awaited

Before ruling on the HAVE A BREAK Case, the UK Court of Appeal has referred to the ECJ the question of whether the use of a mark in conjunction with, or as part of, another mark may be considered as evidence of acquired distinctiveness. The ECJ's interpretation of this issue is keenly awaited as it will affect the registrability of most unconventional marks.

02 October 2003

Costs should be considered before referring cases to the High Court

In Emanuel v Continental Shelf 128 Ltd, an appointed person of the UK Patent and Trademark Office has ruled that the decision whether to refer an appeal to the High Court following a request from one of the party's involved should reflect the financial standing of the party not requesting the reference.

24 September 2003

Lack of reliance on colour precludes registration for oil mark

In Fuchs Lubricants (UK) plc v Alexander Duckham & Co Limited, the Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the registration of green as a colour mark for motor oil. The hearing officer held that the applicant, Duckhams, had failed to establish that the colour mark had acquired distinctiveness through use.

12 September 2003

Associated Newspapers keeps exclusive right to MAIL newspapers

The High Court has issued an injunction restraining Express Newspapers from using the titles Evening Mail and London Evening Mail for its proposed free newspaper. The court held that use of these titles would (i) infringe the plaintiff Associated Newspaper's rights in its THE MAIL, DAILY MAIL or THE MAIL ON SUNDAY marks, and (ii) amount to passing off.

31 July 2003

Triple victory for SMIRNOFF in invalidity cases

The High Court has issued three decisions in favour of US drinks company Diageo, which (i) reject a bad-faith challenge against its SMIRNOFF registrations for vodka, and (ii) establish that a third party may not register a well-known mark in a different script, even for different goods.

15 July 2003

No change to trademark examination system until 2006

Some 18 months after the closure of a consultation period on a paper entitled Future of Official Examination on Relative Grounds, the UK Patent Office has announced its plans for the trademark examination system. As a result of the response to the review, it will be maintaining the current system for examining trademark applications until at least 2006.

03 July 2003

ECJ asked to clear up 'distinctiveness' in Dyson registration

In Dyson Limited v Registrar of Trademarks, the High Court has referred a question to the ECJ seeking guidance as to whether the monopoly use of a sign that identifies a particular trader's goods can create the necessary degree of distinctiveness required for registration as a trademark, even where the sign has not previously been promoted as a mark.

01 July 2003

Registry changes examination practice for trademark series

The UK Trademark Registry has published a notice setting out its new practice of examining applications to register a series of trademarks in a single procedure. Marks that include numerals, common misspellings or domain name suffixes, among other things, may be considered a series as long as the differences do not affect the marks' overall identity.

11 June 2003

New rules govern appeals in intellectual property proceedings

The Civil Procedure (Amendment 2) Rules have come into force. The rules introduce into the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 a new Part 63 - entitled "Patents and other Intellectual Property Claims" - which sets out new time limits for appeal periods and for extensions of time for appeal applications.