Tag: England

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Criminal trade mark offences to also apply to grey market goods in UK
2
Threats Not Groundless Because Proceedings are Ultimately Not Issued
3
Take a Closer Look Next Time you Flag a Black Cab…
4
H&M Unsuccessful in Challenge to YSL’s Registered Designs for Handbags
5
Assos v Asos Trade Mark Dispute: UK Supreme Court Refuses Permission to Appeal
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Louboutin Succeeds Again in Long Standing European Union Trade Mark Opposition Over Red Sole
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New OHIM Registry Practice for Community Trade Marks
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EU Data Protection Regulation
9
European Union Trade Mark Law Reform – Revised Drafts Released
10
ASA and CAP Publish Annual Report 2014

Criminal trade mark offences to also apply to grey market goods in UK

In a positive decision for brand owners, the UK Supreme Court has confirmed that criminal trade mark offences can apply to the sale and distribution of grey market goods in addition to counterfeit goods.

In R v M & Ors [2017] UKSC 58, the appellants had been importing clothes and shoes into the EU that bore trade marks of famous fashion brands. These were a combination of counterfeit goods and grey market goods (i.e. goods that had been produced with the trade mark owner’s consent but that had been subsequently sold without their consent).

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Threats Not Groundless Because Proceedings are Ultimately Not Issued

In the UK, in a decision that will provide additional comfort to trade mark owners seeking to protect their intellectual property rights in the UK, the High Court held that a threat issued by a trade mark owner was not groundless simply because it was never followed up by proceedings being issued.

In Vanderbilt v Wallace & Ors [2017] EWCH 45 (IPEC), the High Court held that “the emphasis is on whether the acts actually infringe or, if done, would infringe, not on whether a proprietor actually sues for infringement. The phrase does not impose an obligation to commence legal proceedings for every act complained of.”

The case involved a long running trade mark dispute between the claimant and defendant, including several concurrent actions. In this instance the defendant had argued that section 21 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 established that where threats are made the trade mark proprietor has to bring a claim in relation to everything that is the subject of a threat, and that if they fail to do so then the threats can never be justified, even if there is infringement.

The Court disagreed. It stated that there are often valid commercial reasons why a trade mark owner may elect not to issue proceedings even if there is an obvious infringement. The Court will consider the validity of the claim on its own and whether the acts complained of constitute an infringement, regardless of whether proceedings have been issued following any threats to sue.

In addition to providing clarity, this outcome will please trade mark owners. Provided that they have established infringement they can send cease and desist letters without worrying about issuing legal proceedings that may not be commercially desirable.

By: Nóirín McFadden and Jamie Kershaw

Take a Closer Look Next Time you Flag a Black Cab…

By Briony Pollard and Serena Totino

Last month, a quintessential London symbol was subject to the scrutiny of the Hon. Mr. Justice Arnold in a case concerning Community and UK trade marks for the iconic shape of the black London taxi cab in Class 12 (the Trade Marks), owned by The London Taxi Corporation Limited (LTC).

LTC claimed that Frazer-Nash Research Limited and Ecotive Limited (FNR) had intended to deceive the public as to the origin of the Metrocab, a new model of the London taxi. LTC argued that a result of FNR adopting the specific shape it had for the Metrocab, was that consumers would think that it emanated from the same source as LTC’s taxis. As such, FNR threatened to infringe the trade marks and to commit passing off by marketing the Metrocab. FNR contended that the trade marks were invalidly registered because they lack distinctive character and give substantial value to the goods.

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H&M Unsuccessful in Challenge to YSL’s Registered Designs for Handbags

Fashion retailer, H&M has been unsuccessful in its application to the EU General Court to invalidate YSL’s Community designs for handbags. Community designs protect designs for up to 25 years in every EU Member State. In November 2006, YSL successfully registered two of its designs for handbags. H&M had applied for a declaration of invalidity for these two YSL designs arguing that the designs had no individual character.

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Assos v Asos Trade Mark Dispute: UK Supreme Court Refuses Permission to Appeal

The UK Supreme Court (the country’s highest court of appeal) has refused permission to appeal in the long-running Assos v Asos trade mark dispute.

As reported in our post on 2 April 2015 here, the Court of Appeal held that online retailer Asos did not infringe Swiss clothing company, Assos’s, Community trade mark as use of the ASOS brand was defensible under the ‘own name’ defence in Community law.

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Louboutin Succeeds Again in Long Standing European Union Trade Mark Opposition Over Red Sole

Christian Louboutin (Louboutin) has again been successful in a long running opposition proceeding filed by Roland SE (Roland) against its red sole trade mark in the European Union.

Louboutin has faced legal challenges around the world in registering and enforcing its signature red sole on its shoes.  In 2010, Louboutin filed a Community Trade Mark application for the below trade mark in class 25 for “high-heeled shoes (except orthopaedic footwear)” (Louboutin Mark):
shoe

 

(Louboutin Mark)

 

 

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New OHIM Registry Practice for Community Trade Marks

Nice Class Headings

If your international brand portfolio includes Community trade marks (CTMs) which were filed prior to 22 June 2012, you should be carefully reviewing your portfolio in light of changes expected to come into force under the draft Community Trade Mark Regulation (Regulation), a revised draft of which was released last week.

International brand owners will be familiar with the classification system under the Nice Agreement concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services. The system consists of 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services, explanatory notes and an alphabetical list of goods and services. The class headings provide a general indication of the fields to which the goods and services in each class belong.

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EU Data Protection Regulation

On 15 June 2015 the European Council published its final proposed text for the new General Data Protection Regulation.  The Regulation is being adopted to provide legal certainty and transparency for businesses and to provide individuals with the same level of rights and obligations in all EU Member States.

To read the full alert, click here.

European Union Trade Mark Law Reform – Revised Drafts Released

On 8 June 2015, the Council of the European Union published the final texts of its proposal to amend the Community Trade Mark Regulation (Regulation) and Trade Mark Directive (Directive).

The revised drafts reflect the key issues which have been the subject of significant debate in the last year, including:

  • harmonisation of trade mark law and practice between EU member states
  • measures to protect brand owners’ rights with respect to counterfeit goods in transit
  • cooperation between Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) and national trade mark offices
  • governance and finances of OHIM.

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ASA and CAP Publish Annual Report 2014

‘Make Every UK Ad a Responsible Ad’

On 27 May, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) published their Annual Report for 2014. The Annual Report emphasises the ASA and CAP’s continuing work to implement the strategy unveiled during 2014. This strategy aims to ‘make every UK ad a responsible ad’ through the following five strands:

  • Understanding
  • Support
  • Impact
  • Proactive
  • Awareness

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