Home > Legal Opinions tagged ip

  • Scramble v Scrabble - a surprising lack of confusion?

    Dave Holt

    The Court of Appeal case between Mattel and Zynga has confirmed that Mattel’s ‘Scramble’ CTM was valid and not descriptive of what was required in the game or in common usage for word games and therefore that Zynga’s use of ‘Scramble’ infringed it. LJ Floyd held that the similarity between the marks ‘Scramble’ and ‘Scrabble’ […]

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  • Topshop loses appeal against Rihanna in passing-off case

    Emma Fox

    Topshop has lost an appeal against a ruling of passing-off in relation to its sale of t-shirts bearing Rihanna’s image. There was no evidence from purchasers that they had believed the t-shirts were endorsed by Rihanna. However, as reported in our earlier article on this case relating to the appealed High Court judgment as the […]

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  • possible EU design right defence for spare parts manufacturers?

    Nicola Hill

    In a case involving Ford Motor Company concerning the unauthorised manufacturer of wheel trims bearing Ford’s trade mark, the Italian tribunal of Torino has requested a preliminary ruling by the CJEU (Case C-500/14). It has posed two questions, which essentially enquire whether Article 14 of Directive 98/71 and Article 110 of Regulation (EC) No.6/2002 (both […]

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  • "noted, with thanks” - the perils of negotiating settlement agreem...

    Laura Mackenzie

    A recent decision stresses the importance of expressly stating when a settlement offer is intended to be ‘subject to contract’ (ie not binding until a formal written agreement has been executed). In Bieber and others v Teathers Limited (in liquidation) the claimants accepted – via email – a settlement offer relating solely to the sum […]

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  • trade mark puzzle solved - Rubik’s Cube 3D CTM found valid

    Bonita Trimmer

    The community trade mark (CTM) for the shape of the famous Rubik’s cube puzzle has been found valid this week by the General Court. Simba Toys sought cancellation of Seven Town’s CTM on various grounds including that the mark consisted exclusively of the shape of goods “which is necessary to obtain a technical result” and […]

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  • ‘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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