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07 April 2017

Bentley Motors loses invalidity action against BENTLEY mark for clothing

The UKIPO has rejected an application filed by Bentley Motors, the British manufacturer and marketer of luxury cars, for a declaration of invalidity of the mark BENTLEY, owned by British clothing company Bentley 1962. Among other things, the UKIPO noted that Bentley 1962’s mark was registered and used from at least 1998, at which date there was no evidence of an established merchandising connection between car manufacturers and clothing.

29 March 2017

As ‘Brexit Day’ arrives, now is the time for brands to identify what IP rights could be affected

The United Kingdom government officially triggered Article 50 at lunchtime today, beginning the two-year process of negotiations that will lead to the UK leaving the European Union. While uncertainty still reigns, the impact on trademarks and designs could be significant – and with Brexit now a certainty, brand owners should ensure they know exactly what rights could be affected once ‘leaving day’ arrives.

29 March 2017

Trademark procedures and strategies: United Kingdom

There are no special requirements for trademark ownership in the United Kingdom and any legal or natural persons capable of owning property in their own name can apply for and own a trademark.

29 March 2017

High Court decides TITANIC trademark dispute

In Property Renaissance Ltd v Stanley Dock Hotel Ltd, a multi-faceted dispute concerning the right to use TITANIC for hotel and spa services, the High Court has considered, among other things, the principles applicable to a hearing officer's discretion to admit evidence and the own name defence under Section 11(2) of the Trademarks Act.

29 March 2017

The future of a European brand owners’ association in a global IP community

In 2016 MARQUES, the European Association of Trademark Owners, celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first official conference. In this chapter, Gregor Versondert provides some highlights from this special conference and explains how MARQUES has achieved its objectives within the European and international IP framework.

07 March 2017

Both parties in cross-opposition proceedings found to have some rights in LUCKY TEA

In cross-opposition proceedings concerning the mark LUCKY TEA, the hearing officer has found that each party had some rights: Mariages Frères owned the earlier rights for household goods in Class 21 and tea and tea-based products in Class 30, while TWG Tea Company had the earlier rights for other foodstuffs in Class 30, including spices, sugar and bread. The case is a reminder of how important it is to file trademark applications to secure the earliest possible filing date.

02 March 2017's opposition against FITNESS DIRECT fails on all grounds

The hearing officer has dismissed the opposition filed by Retail Limited, the owner of several SPORTS DIRECT marks, against the registration of the figurative mark FITNESS DIRECT by Fitness Direct Ltd. This decision shows that the distinctive character of a trademark is one of its most important characteristics and can define its status on the market.

01 February 2017

Intended use of contested mark may constitute bar to registration

The UKIPO has upheld an opposition by Molson Coors - which claimed unregistered common law rights in the marks BLACK LABEL and CARLING BLACK LABEL - against an application by Cold Black Label for the figurative mark COLD BLACK LABEL for beers. This decision demonstrates that intended use of a contested mark may constitute a bar to registration and can have the same effect as the actual use of a mark similar or identical to an earlier mark.

05 January 2017

Companies must shore up their social media defences in light of Donald Trump’s targeting of brands

Protecting brand reputation and managing the possible legal fallout from crisis situations are some of the main responsibilities of an in-house trademark department. One recent element that has created headaches for numerous brands in that regard is the tweeting habit of US president-elect Donald Trump, and specifically his regular calling out of companies and brands. As he prepares to take office on January 20, we take a look at how brands can react should they be the unwitting target of a Trump Twitter tirade.

16 December 2016

Trademark implications of Brexit, Trump and Samsung Note 7 crisis feature in our most-read list of 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the blogs which received the most reads in the past 12 months. 

06 December 2016

Descriptive or distinctive? Birkenstock sole pattern held to be invalid

An application for a declaration of invalidity against the registration of the Birkenstock sole pattern has succeeded on the basis of lack of distinctiveness, but failed on the grounds of descriptiveness, customary use and shape. The decision underlines the differences between descriptive and distinctive character.

30 November 2016

Specsavers secures SHOULD’VE trademark registration; hits out at inaccurate media coverage

Eyewear giant Specsavers has successfully secured registered trademark protection on the term SHOULD’VE, a shortened version of its well-known tagline ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’. The initial application at the UK Intellectual Property Office spurred negative media reaction earlier this year, with reports claiming that it demonstrates the overreach of trademark law. However, in exclusive comments to World Trademark Review, Antony Douglass, principal IP counsel at Specsavers, has hit out at the “inaccurate commentary” surrounding the mark.

30 November 2016

Opposition fails due to lack of specific evidence of use

A recent decision by the UK Intellectual Property Office highlights the importance of comprehensive and accurate evidence of use in an effective opposition, after opposition to a visually similar device mark failed on all but one ground due to perceived weaknesses in evidence.

24 November 2016

Protecting and enforcing design rights: United Kingdom

While the United Kingdom remains in the European Union, owners can still obtain design registration as either a UK registered design or a registered Community design. Unregistered design protection is also available as an unregistered Community design right or a UK design right.

18 November 2016

High Court holds common assumption invalid

The High Court recently held that a claimant could not rely on an argument of common assumption in relation to the purchase of disputed IP rights, as this relied too heavily on subjective intention. The court emphasised that parties have the ability to contractually agree termination provisions and therefore, only the terms of the contract – not the pre-contractual negotiations – should be taken into account.