Home > Legal Opinions tagged ip

  • ‘Golden Balls’ CTM saga: differing degrees of similarity

    Laura Mackenzie

    Last year we reported on the General Court’s decision that, on a global consideration of the trade marks ‘Golden Balls’ and ‘Ballon D’or’, their visual and phonetic differences (despite their minimal conceptual similarities) meant they were not ‘similar’ under Art 8(1)(b) CTM Regulation 2007/2009 (requiring identical/similar marks for identical/similar goods and a likelihood of confusion) […]

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  • renting an orphan – new UK licensing scheme

    Declan Cushley

    A new UK licensing scheme for orphan works has been launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The scheme enables you to apply for a licence to make use of at least 91 million creative works, some of cultural importance including photographs, diaries, films and recordings, which have previously been effectively unavailable as […]

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  • It’s all about how you couch it….

    Sara McNeill

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Sofa King’s regional press ad which included the slogan “The Sofa King – Where the Prices are Sofa King Low!” after receiving three complaints. The ASA held the slogan could be “interpreted as derivative of a particular swear word which consumer research had found to be a word […]

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  • Government Strategy to open up access to IP for SMEs

    Richard Nicholas

    A Strategy published yesterday and highlighted by the IPO’s press release sets out measures to help small and medium size businesses protect their IP rights. The strategy picks up a number of proposals for the future (such as the creation of a register of IP advisors, online training tool, and provision of audits) and some […]

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  • Chinese Telecoms Firms under US Congressional Investigation

    Dave Drew

    The Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE plans to focus on manufacturing smartphone in a bid to crack the US telecommunications market. ZTE will move from producing lower-end ‘feature phones’ – a hugely successful export to emerging economies like India – and concentrate on fourth generation smartphones. This latest phase of ZTE’s phenomenal rise from its origins […]

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  • The Informed User is Clarified as Pepsi’s Pogs Fail to Appeal

    Ryan Harrison

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has followed the Advocate General’s opinion by dismissing an appeal against the General Court’s ruling that Pepsi’s design registration for “pogs” was invalid. The design was previously ruled invalid because it did not create a different overall impression on the informed user than an earlier Promer design. A key […]

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  • No surprises in repackaging ruling

    Giles Parsons

    The European Court of Justice has previously held that trade mark proprietors cannot object to pharmaceuticals being repackaged if repackaging is necessary to market the product, it does not affect the products’ condition, the packaging clearly identifies the repackager, is not defective, and the importer gives notice to the trade mark proprietor. Merck brought two […]

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  • Bunny battle settled

    Oliver Laing

    The long standing dispute between the creators of Miffy and Hello Kitty’s companion Cathy has finally been settled. Miffy, a small white female rabbit, was created in 1955 by Dick Bruna. Cathy, also a small white female rabbit, was created by Sanrio in 1976. In 2010 Mercis Media BV (Mr Bruna’s copyright management firm) brought […]

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  • How to silence an ex-colleague

    Richard Nicholas

    Whether it’s an angry ex-colleague, ex-employee or ex-director – if your business has valuable confidential information that it needs to protect, these people will inevitably know about it. When that person leaves – how do you stop them from disclosing information about your product or company to other suppliers? We looked at practical legal steps […]

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  • Fighting over flowers…

    Alex Kynoch

    M&S has purchased ‘interflora’ as an adword (a Google search for Interflora now displays an advertising link to M&S’ flower delivery service). Does M&S’ use of the word infringe Interflora’s trade mark rights? The Advocate General has now provided an opinion in the case of Interflora v Marks & Spencer stating that a trade mark […]

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  • A Dame, a Knight, and a new arena in which to joust

    Ryan Harrison

    The case of Dame Vivienne Westwood v Anthony Knight [2011] EWPCC 008 witnessed the first trial heard by HHJ Birss QC under the new Patents County Court (PCC) procedural rules. Issues of trade mark infringement, copyright infringement, and passing off aside, the judgment has attracted interest because of Judge Birss’ flexible and streamlined approach to […]

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  • Battle commences over Digital Economy Act

    Nick McDonald

    The Secretary of State for Culture Jeremy Hunt announced that Ofcom will review the feasibility of the blocking powers created by the Digital Economy Act. This perhaps shows that the Government has recognised that these powers, as currently envisaged, will be extremely difficult to implement and may do little to stem the tide of online […]

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  • Location, location, location…does it really matter?

    Paula Dumbill

    The High Court has confirmed that rights infringement of internet hosted material can only occur in the country where the host server is based. In the case of Football Dataco Limited and others v Sportradar, the claimants ran a site which exploited certain data relating to English and Scottish football matches. Sportradar ran a similar […]

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  • Calling all “short” trade mark owners!

    Mark Daniels

    Following on from our opinion earlier in the year, Nominet (the UK domain name registry) will make available certain single character and two letter domain names. From 1 December 2010 until 17 January 2011, owners of registered trade marks which match their desired “short” domain name will have the first option to apply, upon providing […]

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  • Cameron IP review – danger of missing the mark?

    Peter Ellis

    Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced an independent six-month review of the Intellectual Property system in the UK (the “Technology Blueprint”). He said “…the Government can help make Britain the most attractive place in the world to start and invest in innovative technology companies.” However, much of the discussion around IP neglects the value […]

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  • The inventor protected anywhere and everywhere – an infringe...

    Peter Ellis

    “The inventor protected anywhere and everywhere in the same way. What a beautiful dream!” – so said a lawyer of the late 19th Century. Notwithstanding countless international treaties on trade since that time, and the recognition of IP rights across jurisdictions and at both a national and international level, we are still far from international […]

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  • Can you build a trade mark out of Lego?

    Mark Daniels

    The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Lego brick cannot be registered as a trade mark because its shape is necessary to obtain a technical function, ie to enable another Lego brick to be attached to it. The court found that the exclusion applies even where, within the shape, there are other non-essential […]

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  • It’s all Greek to me

    Paula Dumbill

    Do we make assumptions about the origin of goods on the basis of a single letter? The Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM) says not – an application for a community trade mark by Borco to register the Greek letter alpha – α – for wines was held to lack distinctive character, being […]

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  • Seriously! Whatever defamation is, it is not trivial

    Mark Daniels

    In the High Court recently, the Telegraph Media Group Limited successfully defended a claim of defamation made by Dr Sarah Thornton, the author of Seven Days in the Art World. The Telegraph successfully argued that the words complained of in its review of the book were not capable of being defamatory.  The judge recognised that […]

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  • Consent under a Co-existence Agreement is a Bar to Opposition

    Sara McNeill

    The High Court has upheld a decision that consent given under a co-existence agreement to the registration of a trade mark for certain goods was a bar to opposition on relative grounds, citing section 5(5) of the Trade Marks Act. Omega Engineering argued that Omega SA had no right to oppose its application to register […]

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