17th Jun 2020
Following the killing of US citizen George Floyd by the police, thousands have joined protesters all over the world to march with the Black Lives Matter organised movement, which protests against racial injustice and police brutality against the black community.In the wake of these events, a Manchester businessman by the name of George Demetriou filed an UK trade mark application for the mark “Black Lives Matter” (in various fonts as a series of four marks in one application). This application covers Class 25 for a variety of clothing goods. Full details of this application can be seen on the Intellectual Property Office website. Mr Demetriou also filed a UK trade mark application for the mark “I can’t breathe”, (again in a variety of fonts as a series of three marks in one application). These are the words that were spoken by George Floyd before he was killed, and is an expression that has been used by multiple black victims of police brutality. This application covers, amongst other goods, Class 14 for charity bracelets, Class 25 for a variety of clothing, and Class 36 for fundraising services.
10th Jun 2020
The owner of an earlier mark which had been recognised as famous in China was unsuccessful in an opposition to an EUTM application based on prior registrations of variants on that mark. However, they subsequently succeeded in a cancellation action, in which they alleged that the Registrant (originally from China) must have been aware of their mark and had acted in bad faith in registering it.
27th May 2020
This blog covers invalidity decisions issued by the EUIPO during the first quarter of 2020, from 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020. Our previous blog covering the decisions issued during the fourth quarter of 2019 can be found here.Registered Community designs (RCDs) protect the shape and appearance of new products across the whole of the EU. Since national court decisions on RCDs are rare, decisions by the EUIPO’s Invalidity Division help us to understand how the validity of an RCD is interpreted.
26th May 2020
In 2011 the EUIPO launched the “Convergence Programme” in order to improve the alignment of national and EU trade mark systems and to assist with the improvement of practices. The programme was based on regular exchange of information and discussion of issues among the EUIPO, national offices and user associations. On 1 April 2020 the EUIPO published CP9 Common Practice: “Distinctiveness of three-dimensional marks (shape marks) containing verbal and/or figurative elements when the shape is not distinctive in itself”.This sets out a two-step examination process for assessing the distinctive character of such marks.
17th Apr 2020
On 3 March 2020, a company called Cobblestone Lane LLC filed an application in the USA for the mark ARCHEWELL. The application was in respect of a wide range of goods and services, including charitable fundraising and emotional support and counselling services. Taking advantage of the 6 month “priority” period that follows the first filing of a trade mark, further applications were filed in the UK, EU and elsewhere for the same mark and goods/services, claiming the benefit of the original US filing date. So far, so fairly usual. Then on 6 April 2020, the Telegraph newspaper in the UK revealed that the applications had been filed on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who planned to launch a new non-profit organisation under the name ARCHEWELL.
4th Mar 2020
Last month we noted that Harry and Meghan were bringing trade marks to the attention of the general public, with their SUSSEX ROYAL trade mark making headlines in the mainstream press. We’re pleased to see that trade marks continue to be big news at the moment. So far this month, it’s a comedian who has captured the public imagination in a surprising way in connection with a trade mark dispute. While filming an episode of the Channel 4 show “Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back”, the eponymous comedian became aware that Welsh craft brewery Boss Brewing had been sent a cease and desist letter by the German fashion house Hugo Boss.
24th Feb 2020
A recent decision of the General Court demonstrates that the distinctiveness of a trade mark must be assessed in relation to the specific goods or services for which registration is sought. Hästens Sängar AB (which does business simply as “Hastens”) is a Swedish manufacturer specialising in beds, bedlinen, pillows and accessories. Hasten’s products have long featured a blue and white check pattern, which was apparently created in 1978 by the father of the current owner and executive chairman of the company. This check pattern is used on Hastens’ beds, mattresses and bed linen, as well as on clothing and other accessories. Hastens has registered the check pattern in Sweden and has sought to protect it by various means in many other territories. On 21 December 2016 Hastens applied to register a copyright claim in the US in a repeating “two-dimensional graphic pattern consisting of white, dark blue, medium blue and light blue rectangles arranged in a check pattern”.
12th Feb 2020
In February 2018 we reported on the decision of Mr Justice Arnold in the UK High Court trade mark litigation involving various Sky companies (Sky plc, Sky International AG and Sky UK Limited – ‘Sky’) and SkyKick (SkyKick UK Limited and SkyKick Inc). On 29 January 2020 the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) delivered its judgement on the questions referred by the UK court. Details of the CJEU’s judgement and what it means in practice are set out below.