In short, "yes". Cybersquatters are a growing threat to brands. This trend has accelerated as e-commerce grows and consumers spend more time online. A new report suggests that cyber-squatters are cannier and more cunning than you might imagine. For brand owners, resolving domain name issues and filing defensive registrations eats up considerable time and effort. But as many have found to their cost, ignoring cybersquatting can lead to consumer confusion, loss of sales, fraud
After the many logistical issues posed by both Brexit and the pandemic and with sustainability at the forefront of everyone's mind, it is perhaps not surprising that there has been a 130% increase in businesses accepted to use the MADE IN BRITAIN mark on their goods. (Many more have applied but not met the relevant criteria.)
What is the legal framework that underpins this brand name and what exactly does "Made In Britain" mean?
Can anyone use MADE IN BRITAIN?
Made in Gre
The pandemic has had a deadly toll on bricks and mortar retail. This has particularly affected some department stores, including the flagship stores of brands like covid-casualty Top Shop. Is this a sign of things to come or is there an opportunity for a new renaissance? The Financial Times recently looked at this issue in detail. The answer seems to be a mix of architectural opportunities, mixed use spaces (weddings in Selfridges!) and, potentially, some bulldozing. We have
The Court of Appeal has reviewed the law on liability and account of profits in a judgment concerning the BEVERLY HILLS POLO CLUB trade mark (Lifestyle Equities C.V. & Anor v Ahmed & Anor  EWCA Civ 675). The case is one of many that are winding their way through the courts concerning this brand. In this litigation, the judge at first instance found that the use of SANTA MONICA POLO CLUB infringed the BEVERLY HILLS POLO CLUB mark and devices, and also found passing off.
The EU General Court has upheld a Board of Appeal ruling in a dispute between Chanel and Huawei, finding that Huawei’s EUTM application for a figurative H/U shape was not similar to Chanel’s Double-C trade mark (Case T-44/20, 21 April 2021). Huawei applied to register the EUTM for goods in class 9 in 2017 (far left). Chanel opposed the Huawei application based on two French trade marks (middle and right): (1) a figurative mark for “Cameras, sunglasses, glasses; earphones and
Is there a likelihood of confusion between the figurative signs pictured below (PANTHÉ and PANTHER) for “Clothing; Headgear” in Class 25? The EU General Court said "No". In doing so, they upheld a decision of the EUIPO Board of Appeal. The case is El Corte Inglés v EUIPO/MKR Design Srl (Case T-117/20). The judgment was published on 10 February 2021. So what happened? Spanish retailer El Corte Inglés opposed an EUTM application for the sign listed above (PANTHÉ) which was file
Trade marks may theoretically last forever but brands are subject to change. The Aunt Jemima brand of pancake mix and syrup will be renamed Pearl Milling Company, in response to concerns about racial stereotypes. The new brand harks back to the name of the originator of the self-rising pancake max and was announced by Quaker Oats (part of PepsiCo) on 10 February 2021. The Aunt Jemima brand, like the Washington Redskins, is being retired following the global attention that was
How can you stop someone from systematically copying your brand? What if it went further than just your designs and covered everything from your marketing strategy to your models? This major new UK fashion case shows the consequences which range from the predictable (copying valid designs has consequences) to the surprising (it isn't necessarily possible to stop all copycat behaviour). This case is a bit of a marathon read but it's a fantastic primer for anyone wanting to und
Influencers are advertisers. This has been clear for some time. But now influencers are trending for the wrong reasons as the Advertising Standards Authority starts to clamp down on the use of filters for beauty products and failure to identify paid content. Use of filters Advertisers should not use filters on photos promoting beauty products on Instagram if the filters are likely to mislead or exaggerate regarding the effect the product was capable of achieving. This was the
In its annual review of markets that engage in or facilitate counterfeiting and piracy, the US Trade Representative has named 39 online markets (including many of Amazon’s foreign domains, Shopee and Taobao) and 34 physical markets. The European Commission published a similar list in its Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List in December 2020. Both lists provide useful information on the challenges IP rights owners face in enforcing their rights in the various online marketplaces,
When is an online marketplace “targeting” consumers in a particular jurisdiction? This was the question that Mr Justice Michael Green wrestled with in his judgment in Lifestyle Equities CV & Anor v Amazon UK Services Ld & Ors  EWHC 118 (Ch). The case involved trade mark infringement and passing off claims brought against Amazon regarding the sale of goods bearing the Beverly Hills Polo Club trade marks on amazon.com. The claimants are familiar faces in the English High
It’s a sad consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns in many countries that retailers have lost business, and regrettably some have gone into administration. But one thing that’s been notable in many cases is that the brands have proved attractive to buyers, even when the rest of the business has not. For example, Marks & Spencer recently bought the Jaeger fashion brand for an undisclosed fee after the company went into administration. It did not acquire any of t
The long-lasting litigation over the authorship of the screenplay for the 2016 film “Florence Foster Jenkins” has resulted in the court finding that Julia Kogan (the Claimant) was a co-author of the screenplay with the contribution valued at 20%. Mr Justice Meade’s decision came following a retrial after an earlier judgment was overturned by the Court of Appeal. This is an unusual decision which reflects a changing approach toward defining artistic contribution. Ms Kogan was
Dr Martens, the footwear and clothing brand that defined my teens, is launching an initial public offering (IPO) which could value the company at £3.7 billion! The company is currently majority owned by Permira (the UK private equity firm). One reason behind this high valuation is that it is a fashion brand that truly recognises the value of its IP (even if it famously once failed to secure the copyright in its logo - see below!).* It sells 11 million pairs of boots and shoes
A new employee joins a business. They have lots of new ideas and suggestions. Sounds great but might you be at risk? To put it another way, where is the line between creativity and confidentiality? Travel Counsellors Ltd v Trailfinders Ltd There was a rare Court of Appeal judgment on confidential information on 19 January 2021. The Court upheld a decision from the English IP Enterprise Court (IPEC) in a dispute between travel agent Trailfinders Ltd ("Trailfinders") and its co
Mr Justice Miles’s judgment in Lyle & Scott Limited v American Eagle Outfitters, Inc is an important decision for international fashion brands. The two companies use very similar eagle logos (pictured) for clothing that is sold through similar marketplaces in the UK and internationally. Lyle & Scott (L&S) is a long-standing British high-end fashion brand. It historically made golf clothes but by 2019 around half of its sales were polo shirts and T-shirts which are sold throu
There is no doubt that we are living through an unstable time. The pandemic has changed daily life for everyone. Politics are far from stable – this impacts many things, not least international trade. The origins of established brands are coming under the microscope. The economic good times (such as they were in the wake of the global financial crisis) are over. With recession set as the new normal, it is clear that things will be in flux for a long time to come. It is hard t
Are arbitration clauses a good idea? This post is not going to resolve this longstanding debate but it will highlight some of the intended (and unintended) consequences of an arbitration clause. The use of arbitration clauses in trade mark coexistence agreements was recently considered by the UK's IP Enterprise Court (IPEC) in Lifestyle Equities CV & Anor v Hornby Street (MCR) Ltd & Ors. Lifestyle Equities owns six EUTMs and one UKTM (post Brexit that is 7 UKTMs) for BEVERLEY
A case regarding “ballet flats” is likely the last time in which a UK court will sit as a Community Design Court, and the judgment was handed down expeditiously given the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. The case involved registered Community designs (RCDs) and unregistered Community designs (UCDs), and issues of both validity and infringement. Deputy High Court Judge David Stone found: both the registered and unregistered design to be valid as they pr
You take a famous car company with a well known trade mark, say Ferrari, and decide that you can get an entirely new revenue stream licensing this mark for use on FMCG products such as clothing. It is a roaring success! Competitors look at this success and think - great idea! Let's copy it... but not all of them clear their rights first. The following is a cautionary tale in more ways than one. I was in charge of this case from its start until well into the disclosure phase.