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Category: Brands & Trade Marks

The "Skykick" Case - A Key Decision for Practitioners

Introduction On 29 April 2020, the High Court issued a decision that use of the trade mark SKYKICK in the UK infringed Sky Plc’s registrations for the mark SKY. While the finding of infringement is not especially noteworthy in itself, the decision is of great significance to brand owners in general and their representatives as explained below. Background Sky Plc, the well known television broadcaster, sued SkyKick UK Ltd, a company supplying cloud migration IT services, for trade mark infringement…

Chocolate Wars: Cadbury loses two battles over purple trade mark rights

Chocolate battles won and lost, but the war is not over... If you asked someone to imagine Cadbury chocolate, most people would immediately think of the purple packaging. The iconic purple hue, registered as a trade mark for the shade Pantone 2685C since 1995, has been the confectionery giant’s signature colour for decades. The “Dairy Milk” product is just one example of this. However, despite Cadbury’s established rights in the purple colour variant there has been a long-running “chocolate war”…

McDonald’s Lose Their BIG MAC Trade Mark Registration

It's Supermac's 1 – 1 McDonald's, but we're not done yet in this burger trade mark case... Most people (other than vegetarians of course) have enjoyed a McDonald’s “Big Mac” or two in their lives. The burger seems to have been around for ever.  You would probably find it surprising therefore that McDonald’s have recently lost their trade mark protection for the words BIG MAC in the European Union. Not only that, McDonald’s lost their trade mark registration because they could not…

Genericism - are brand names safe?

Do you know what all these brands have in common?  Hoover, Jacuzzi, Frisbee, Escalator, Thermos, Yo-Yo They were once highly effective trade marks but have since been categorised as a generic term for certain goods because many people now refer to them collectively by the trade marks rather than by a specific brand. One everyday example is Hoover – we’ve become so accustomed to calling all vacuum cleaners Hoovers that the term has become generic for these goods. Same goes…

EU Exit and your European Intellectual Property Rights

As you will be aware following a National referendum the UK has voted to leave the European Union.  This will have a significant impact on UK business practices and legislation including intellectual property. Whilst change is inevitable in the longer term, for the time being it is business as usual for UK Plc.  The UK will only cease to be a member of the EU once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked and subsequent withdrawal negotiations are concluded. …

UK is Third in List of EU Trade Mark Filings

Applicants from the UK filed 12,527 European Union (EU) trade mark applications in 2015, making the UK the third biggest filer of trade marks with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), coming behind Germany (20,447 applications) and the USA (16,881). Applications Continue to Increase In total, 130,385 EU trade mark applications were filed in 2015 by applicants from around the world. The UK was responsible for 14% of the 89,420 applications filed with the EUIPO by applicants from the…

EU General Court Refuses Trade Mark Registration for Plain Coca-Cola Bottle

The General Court of the European Union has recently affirmed a decision by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), formerly known as the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), to refuse soft-drinks giant Coca-Cola’s application for a European Union trade mark registration for the three-dimensional shape of a bottle.  The company applied for the trade mark in 2011, and it was first rejected in 2013. Bottle Lacks Distinctive Character The bottle shape submitted for trade mark protection…

Record Numbers of Patent and Trade Mark Applications in 2014

A recent report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) says that the number of patent and trade mark applications around the globe reached a new record in 2014.  Patent applications increased by 4.5% from the previous year, while trade mark applications rose by 6% over the same period. Top Jurisdictions According to the report, the largest number of applications was filed in China, which saw over 900,000 patent applications alone over the year – an increase of 12.5%.  The…

Beer-related Trade Marks Increase in the UK

As consumer appetite grows for craft beers, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has seen an increase of 12% in the number of beer-related trade marks registered in 2014 compared to 2013.  There is expected to be an even bigger increase this year. A Sign that Business is Good for Breweries? A rise in trade mark applications is usually a sign that business in that sector is doing well, with plenty of room for new products and brands and a…

UK Company Refused ‘Champagne’ Trade Mark for Flooring Products

Ball & Young, a company based in Corby, Northamptonshire, applied to the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to register the trade mark ‘Cloud 9 Caviar and Champagne Collection’ for flooring products.  The application was refused after an objection from the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), which is the trade body representing Champagne producers.   When is ‘Champagne’ a Trade Mark? An opposition hearing was held at the IPO, during which Ball & Young argued that the word ‘Champagne’…

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