easyGroup, which owns the IP rights for companies such as easyJet and easyHotel, has been active, and largely successful, in bringing actions against other companies using the “easy” prefix. However, it suffered a reverse in a recent judgment against an online retailer, easylife (Easygroup Ltd v Easylife Ltd & Anor  EWHC 2150 (Ch)).
Chief Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Briggs dismissed easyGroup’s infringement and passing off claims against easylife. An importan
In what may be a record for an IP case in the UK, the trial in Lutec (UK) Ltd & Ors v Cascade Holdings Ltd & Anor  EWHC 1907 (Pat) lasted just over an hour. In his judgment published on 9 July 2021, Deputy High Court Judge David Stone found that four registered designs were infringed by two outdoor light fittings, known as the Helios Up Or Down light (Helios U/D) and the Helios Up And Down light (Helios U&D). The judge attributed the rapid resolution to “thorough prepar
Oatly has hit a brick wall in its attempt to stop third parties from selling oat milk using the word "OAT" plus the letter "Y". A decision in the IP Enterprise Court (IPEC) that the use of the PUREOATY name does not infringe registered trade marks for OATLY demonstrates the difficulty of enforcing marks that include a descriptive element. The case is Oatly AB v Glebe Farm Foods. Swedish company Oatly brought the action for infringement of five registered EU (now comparable UK
This Court of Appeal decision is a helpful reminder that a lack of evidence of actual confusion is not necessarily fatal to a finding of trade mark infringement. The two IP specialist judges and one of the few female judges in the Court of Appeal upheld a finding of likelihood of indirect confusion between EU and UK trade marks for EAGLE RARE (registered for, respectively "bourbon whiskey" and "whiskey" and other goods in class 33) and a bourbon whiskey sold under the name AM
We first wrote about the impact of Brexit on UK trade marks over a year ago. We are now over 6 months in since the UK's departure from the EU and rapidly approaching the end of the transitional arrangements. 30 September 2021 is the deadline for filing a new UK application and claiming priority from an earlier EU trade mark application. This only applies if the EU mark was filed on or before 31 December 2020. Other important changes Separate trade mark filings are now require
A common trade mark filing strategy in the UK and EU is to file a broad trade mark specification. A broad specification makes enforcement easier and allows room for the pivots that are common in new businesses. The down side of broad trade marks is that they block the register for future applicants. This issue has been put into the spotlight thanks to the longstanding litigation between Sky and SkyKick - previously discussed here. In the latest SkyKick judgment, the Court of
As brands expand into new areas, particularly those driven by emerging technologies, they are often looking for innovative and memorable trade marks. Nike appears to have scored with its registration of FOOTWARE for various tech-related goods and services. In a judgment on 27 May 2021, High Court Judge Mr Justice Zacaroli upheld a UK IPO Hearing Officer’s decision rejecting Puma’s opposition to Nike’s registration of FOOTWARE (Puma SE v Nike Innovate CV  EWHC 1438 (Ch))
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 retail space may still be recovering from some post Covid (& Brexit) turbulence, ecommerce continues to buck the trend. Etsy has acquired Depop, the British resale fashion platform, for a casual $1.6bn (£1.15bn). Trading and reselling vintage or recycled clothing online has now become a several multi-billion dollar market, but a multitude of IP issues come with it. Genuine Goods Not all products sold on platforms like Depop (or Etsy) are genuine. That great deal on a seco
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
Occasionally IP disputes break into the public domain. This one has to do with Nike, a famous brand, and also to do with Satan. Rosie and Crafty Counsel investigated this issue as part of the Crafty Counsel Investigates series. Whilst the dispute was quickly resolved, the wider issues for brand owners worldwide remain noteworthy. What happened? A company called MSCHF was up to no good. They took some Nike Air trainers, added a drop of blood and water, and repackaged them as a
We are all aware that the pandemic hasn't necessarily led to a decrease of work across the board. One group of people who have been particularly busy are the staff at EUIPO. EUIPO received a record number of EUTM filings in 2020 - over 175,000* in a single year. This is an annual increase of more than 10%! which is remarkable given the impact of the pandemic on business during the year. Most of the growth came in the second half of the year, and EUIPO says it was led “by a si
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
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 Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) clarified the assessment of a position mark's distinctiveness in Aktiebolaget Östgötatrafiken v Patent-och registreringsverket. You can read the full case here. This case confirms that position marks depend on consumer perception. In 2016, the Swedish bus company applied to register various signs including the one set out below as Swedish trade marks in class 39 for vehicles and transport: The applications included the descri
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.
Scott Gilen (Director of IP Enforcement Global at Apple) spoke at the Luxury Law Summit about how his team stops Apple fakes (both digital and physical) around the world. Understandably, their primary focus is on counterfeits that could be harmful to consumers such as fake iPhones, parts and accessories. Fake Apple stores remain a problem around the world (particularly in China). They have everything from the T-shirts to the tables! The issues that Scott has to deal with go b