The UK has now left the EU, following a transition period that ended on 31 December 2020. In contrast to the position in a number of industries, the position in relation to IP rights has been relatively smooth. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has created and entered into its database the comparable rights based on EU trade mark and design registrations which were all in place as of Exit Day. The Office is continuing to work on comparable rights created from EU designations filed via the Madrid or Hague systems and appears to be making good progress. The UKIPO should be commended for this, particularly in view of the current working conditions.
In 2001 an experimental alternative to the NFL was launched by Vince McMahon: the XFL. The XFL hosted fewer teams, promising quicker games and greater entertainment. The XFL lasted just one season before collapsing due to significant financial losses. In 2018, McMahon revived the league with a planned restart date in 2020. Fast forward to January 2021 and the picture for the XFL remains bleak, it having lasted only 5 weeks before collapsing due to financial pressures linked to COVID 19. Dwayne Johnson and his associates now own the league and another restart is scheduled for the 2022 season.
The EPO recently reported the results of an ongoing pilot project for Opposition hearings by videoconference (ViCo) and at the same time announced that all Examination and Opposition oral proceedings between 4 January 2021 and 15 September 2021 will be held by ViCo.Opposition hearings will be delayed until after 15th September 2021 only where there are serious reasons preventing the use of ViCo and agreement of the parties to the proceedings is no longer required.
Your engineers have been working on an exciting innovation. Their ideas have been developed in secret, and now they are ready for testing, which presents the issue of how to keep these new ideas secret. In the renewable energy sector, machines can be BIG. Consider GE’s Haliade X. This offshore wind turbine is 260 metres tall, and its rotor alone measures 220 metres. How do you test something like this in private?
In November 2019, Reddie & Grose reported on a decision of the UK IPO in relation to a partially-successful opposition by Unilever PLC to UK Application No 3298871. The applicant’s appeal against this decision has now been dismissed, despite an acknowledgement from the Appointed Person that “valid criticisms” had been made about Unilever’s evidence of use as part of their opposition. This case confirms the well-established principle that it is not essential to file specific types of evidence in order to prove use of a mark, but that the evidence as a whole must demonstrate genuine use. It also suggests that genuine use of a mark may be found even if the evidence filed relates to a precursor of the protected goods, rather than the protected goods themselves: in this case, the relevant protected goods were “ice cream”, while the evidence primarily related to sales of ice cream mix.
Reddie & Grose’s Brighton-based trade mark attorneys report on the most recent football team trade mark application to catch the headlines. Brighton and Hove Albion FC (‘BHAFC’) have caused a bit of a stir in the press and among some of their fans by applying to register ALBION and THE ALBION as UK trade marks. The concern is that BHAFC have unjustly laid claim to an ancient name for the British Isles and that this move will cause problems for the many local businesses that also use the word ALBION. We love seeing the mainstream press pay attention to trade mark applications, but in this case fans need not worry about BHAFC overstepping the mark with their trade mark protection.
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.
Harry and Meghan have had the spotlight of the world’s media on them in the last few weeks. But for us, it is great to see the level of interest that has been paid to their trade mark applications. It’s not just the IP blogs and trade journals that have been commenting on their efforts to secure legal protection for their brand – the SUSSEX ROYAL trade mark has been making headlines across the mainstream press as well, which is not surprising given the challenges ahead for the Sussexes’ applications.