Tag: United Kingdom

1
Could You Be Using Your Trade Marks to Stop Unauthorised Resellers in the EU?
2
Trade Mark Re-filing and Bad Faith – Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200 – Part Two: General Court Ruling
3
Riding on Coat-tails, Doesn’t Come Free: UK High Court Awards Additional Damages for Oh Polly’s Flagrant Infringement of House of CB’s Unregistered Design Rights
4
Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague breaches the UK Advertising Standards Authority promotion rules
5
Advertising in the Time of Coronavirus
6
Brexit and .EU Domain Names – A warning for UK registrants
7
UK Advertising Regulator makes first ever ruling on disclosures required for commercial marketing via a TikTok video
8
Don’t Bank-sy on Trade marks: Banksy loses EU trade mark due to “bad faith”
9
Copyright protection for Brompton’s folding bicycle? CJEU gives green light to the possibility across Europe
10
COVID-19: UKIPO declares “interrupted days” to extend deadlines

Could You Be Using Your Trade Marks to Stop Unauthorised Resellers in the EU?

In this internet age, where a brand can be damaged by a single, negative review going viral, never has it been more important for a brand owner to protect its image and reputation. The pandemic forced all shopping online for some periods and has dramatically changed consumer buying habits, increasing the risks of unauthorised and poor quality online selling for high-quality brands without appropriate measures in place.

How can you stop a third party selling your genuine goods in a manner that damages your brand? Be it poor customer service, bait and switch practices, long delivery times, substandard internet sites or poor returns policies, issues such as these, the prevalence of which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, can create negative consumer associations with a brand. The answer – through an effective selective distribution strategy.

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Trade Mark Re-filing and Bad Faith – Go Directly to Jail. Do Not Pass GO, Do Not Collect $200 – Part Two: General Court Ruling

On 21 April 2021, the General Court of the European Union refused Hasbro’s appeal to overturn a decision that partially invalidated its EU trade mark for MONOPOLY on the ground of acting in bad faith when filing the application. The judgement by the General Court has ramifications for brand owners in both the law of bad faith but also in the practice of evergreening (repeatedly filing for an identical mark covering a broad specification of classes as the period of protection for the mark draws to an end).

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Riding on Coat-tails, Doesn’t Come Free: UK High Court Awards Additional Damages for Oh Polly’s Flagrant Infringement of House of CB’s Unregistered Design Rights

On 24 February 2021, the UK High Court found that a number of Oh Polly dress designs had infringed the unregistered design rights of its competitor, House of CB. This recent decision confirms the risk of additional damages being awarded if infringers flagrantly copy third party designs, whilst also confirming the difficulties brand owners face in bringing passing off actions based solely on copycat designs.

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Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague breaches the UK Advertising Standards Authority promotion rules

An £8,000 Instagram giveaway promoted by Love Island contestant Molly-Mae Hague, breached the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) promotion rules, a recent decision of the ASA has determined.

In September 2020, Ms Hague (who has more than 5 million followers on Instagram, and 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube), offered one of her followers the chance to win approximately £8,000 worth of luxury designer goods, including handbags, a laptop and products from her fake tan range. To enter, her followers were asked to like the Instagram post, tag a friend and follow her personal Instagram page, the Instagram page of her tanning brand and to subscribe to her YouTube channel.

The Instagram post in question was liked close to 1.2 million times and attracted almost 3 million comments.

After the giveaway, the ASA received 12 complaints from individuals who believed that not all of the entrants were included in the ‘final draw’ and so did not have an equal and fair chance of winning. The complainants challenged whether: (i) the prize was awarded in accordance with the laws of chance; and (ii) the promotion was administered fairly.

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Advertising in the Time of Coronavirus

COVID-19 and the many national lockdowns that have followed have caused a huge shift in advertising and marketing. Suddenly, everyone is at home and receiving nearly all content digitally; through their phones, tablets and TVs, and advertising budgets have been sliced and squeezed as companies shift scarce resources to other parts of their business.

Regulators are faced with a new challenge and responsibility to protect consumers from companies who would price gouge and profit from panic caused by COVID-19. The UK regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has published a fair number of decisions and guidance in relation to the coronavirus.

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Brexit and .EU Domain Names – A warning for UK registrants

Despite the UK having officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020, the Brexit transition period has been in place maintaining the status quo until 31 December 2020. However, with the end of transition period just around the corner, there are a number of important factors for businesses to be considering including the potential impact on .EU domain names.

Importantly, from 1 January 2021, UK Registrants will no longer be eligible to hold a .EU domain name. Each of the following would be classed as UK Registrants:

  • UK undertakings or organisations established in the UK but not otherwise in the EU;
  • UK citizens who are not resident of an EU member state; and
  • UK residents who are not EU citizens.
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UK Advertising Regulator makes first ever ruling on disclosures required for commercial marketing via a TikTok video

A TikTok post on an Emily Canham’s account, a beauty blogger and YouTube star, is the first TikTok video found to be in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) requirement for disclosure in the UK (see here).

The post, which featured a video of Emily Canham using a branded hairdryer and straighteners, included a caption alongside the video stated:

hiii just a lil psa there’s 20% off the [Brand] website TODAY ONLY with the code EMILY … #fyp #foryourpage“.

The brand in question had entered into an agreement with Ms Canham, which required Ms Canham to post a number of social media posts while at a music festival. The music festival was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. However, the contract was varied and still required several social media posts featuring a certain promotional code.

It was submitted to the ASA that the TikTok was created without the oversight or approval of the brand, and did not form part of Ms Canham’s contract. Additionally, both Ms Canham and the brand pointed to the fact that she had not been compensated for the promotional code featured in the TikTok video.

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Don’t Bank-sy on Trade marks: Banksy loses EU trade mark due to “bad faith”

Banksy’s trade mark for one of his most famous artistic designs has been declared invalid by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (the “EUIPO”) on the grounds that it was filed in bad faith. The EUIPO finding him having engaged in “inconsistent with honest practices” in his attempt to protect his trade mark. A full copy of the decision can be found here.

The EUIPO said Banksy was attempting to use trade mark law to protect his artwork from being used commercially by third-parties because he couldn’t copyright it and maintain his anonymity. This decision highlights that the court will take a dim view of anyone – even famous artists – attempting to find a loophole in the law.

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Copyright protection for Brompton’s folding bicycle? CJEU gives green light to the possibility across Europe

On 11 June 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its decision in the referral from the Belgium Companies Court (Tribunal de l’entreprise de Liège) arising from copyright infringement proceedings by Brompton Bicycle Ltd (Brompton) against a Korean company Get2Get Chedech (Get2Get) relating to its folding bike.

The decision is good news for designers and creative businesses as it lays a foundation for new opportunities for copyright protection and enforcement in Europe. This evolving area of law now requires a low threshold for protection, with a suggestion from the CJEU that minor creative choices in products will be sufficient for a finding of copyright protection.

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COVID-19: UKIPO declares “interrupted days” to extend deadlines

Following similar measures from the EUIPO and other national registries (see here), the UK Intellectual Property Office (the UKIPO), has declared 24 March 2020, and subsequent days until further notice, “interrupted days”. This means that any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, and applications for these rights, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended until the UKIPO notifies the end of the interrupted days period.

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