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.
In his recent article, Robin Ellis summarised the key take-home messages from the UK Supreme Court judgement in Regeneron v Kymab.In this article Andrew Carridge takes a more in-depth look into the concept of a ‘principle capable of general application’, exploring when broad claims may be justified and when claims may legitimately cover as yet undiscovered embodiments.
A recent decision of the UK IPO demonstrates the importance of filing evidence of reputation, if available, as well as sufficient evidence of use when an opposition relies on a mark which has been registered for more than 5 years.
Last week the Supreme Court ruled that an inventor, Professor Shanks, was entitled to compensation for an invention he devised while employed by Unilever in the 1980s. Such successful decisions are extremely rare (there is only one other case, Kelly and Chiu), and this is the first time that the Supreme Court has considered this corner of the Patents Act.The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the rulings of the lower courts and award £2m to Professor Shanks is a landmark decision that could pave the way for further successful claims.