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12 May 2017

UKIPO slammed for "not doing anything proactive to defend existing trademark owners" following Gleissner filing spree

A number of small business owners have contacted World Trademark Review to criticise the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) handling of trademark applications filed by entities related to entrepreneur and serial trademark filer Michael Gleissner. One stinging critique, from the owner of IT support firm Purple Computing, questions why the UKIPO is not providing sufficient protection for existing rights holders and claims that the duty to oppose or seek cancellation of marks is too financially burdensome for most small businesses.

04 May 2017

Unjustified threats overhaul receives royal nod, raises prospect of increased weak infringement allegations

With the UK Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Act receiving royal assent, clarity on what can be said in pre-action correspondence relating to trademark disputes is a step closer. While the bill has been welcomed, one commentator has warned that the protection from liability afforded to legal advisers could lead to an increase in knowingly weak allegations of infringement.

03 May 2017

High Court determines appeal against refusal of SOVEREIGN trademark

The recently dismissed appeal against a hearing officer's decision to refuse the registration of the mark SOVEREIGN in respect of "gold commemorative coins" is a reminder that the threshold for success on appeal from a hearing officer – whether to the appointed person or the High Court – is high.

18 April 2017

Apple case highlights UKIPO's strict approach in awarding costs

In this recent case before the UKIPO, the applicants had filed 68 applications to revoke Apple’s registered trademarks on the grounds of non-use. The hearing officer accepted Apple’s submissions that the applications constituted an abuse of process and that, therefore, it was entitled to off-scale costs. However, the hearing officer found that Apple’s assessment of the on-scale costs was wrong and decided to award only off-scale costs.

13 April 2017

High Court: Apple's IWATCH mark is not registrable for computers, computer software and related goods

In Apple Inc v Arcadia Trading Limited, the High Court has confirmed a decision of the hearing officer that Apple’s IWATCH is not registrable as a trademark for computers, computer software and related goods. Among other things, the court agreed with the hearing officer that it did not follow from Apple’s use of the marks IPHONE, IPAD, ITUNES and IPOD that the average consumer would perceive the mark IWATCH as denoting goods from the same source.

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

Sportsdirect.com's opposition against FITNESS DIRECT fails on all grounds

The hearing officer has dismissed the opposition filed by Sportsdirect.com 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.