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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.

15 November 2016

Dogs Trust appeal upheld over inherent distinctiveness

An appointed person has upheld the Dogs Trust's appeal relating to inherent distinctiveness, after the UK Intellectual Property Office opposed the trademark application for A DOG IS FOR LIFE NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS on the basis on non-distinctiveness.

07 November 2016

Samsonite fails to oppose ROLLING SOLUTIONS

Samsonite’s opposition of the mark ROLLING SOLUTIONS on the grounds of confusion, acquired reputation and passing off has been rejected on all three counts. The rejection is in line with the limited protection entitled to marks which describe goods or services, although a better-defined Class 35 specification could have benefited the opponent.

01 November 2016

Changes to UK registered design fees come into effect

Changes to the fee structure for UK registered designs have now come into effect. Here's what practitioners should be aware of.

01 November 2016

United Kingdom: Protecting and enforcing renowned trademarks in non-registration jurisdictions

Many companies now operate in a global marketplace and enjoy a strong international reputation for their famous brands. However, problems can arise where brands are not registered as trademarks in every country where they have a strong reputation

26 September 2016

High Court upholds findings in TripAdvisor v Handsam

The High Court has dismissed TripAdvisor’s appeal against a hearing officer’s decision to reject its opposition to the registration of the logo mark HANDSAM SCHOOLTRIPSADVISOR as applied to certain goods and services such as printed manuals and business advice.

28 July 2016

Sky’s the limit for Skyscape when seeking a declaration of non-infringement

After Sky's solicitors wrote to Skyscape alleging that it was infringing a number of Sky's trademarks, Skyscape asked the court to grant a declaration of non-infringement. Although a viable tool in infringement cases, there are issues that claimants should bear in mind when seeking a declaration of non-infringement.

07 July 2016

Barcelona and Neymar top football trademark rankings; high-flying Leicester need to shore up their defence

Research conducted by World Trademark Review reveals the leading trademark filers in the football world, with FC Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United topping the list. It also demonstrates that Leicester City – a team that shocked the football fraternity by winning the Premier League title two months ago – do not yet have a trademark portfolio that matches its newfound success; although a club spokesperson tells us that it has plans to change that.