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Make America Great Again: The Trade Mark

trumpWhilst perusing a book of Trump quotes while buying a greetings card recently, I noted that one of his statements was directed toward an IP issue, namely his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”, and how he’d trademarked the saying.

Given that a favourite pastime of the US media seems to be fact checking everything Trump and Clinton say, IPcopy took a gander at the USPTO trade mark register to find out. (more…)

T-312/15 – Market Watch v EUIPO – Glaxo Group (MITOCHRON)

Court (Small)This post contains a case review of T-312/15 in which the General Court discussed issues of the relevant public, comparison of marks and likelihood of confusion.


On 4 September 2012 Market Watch Franchise & Consulting, Inc. (‘MWFCI’) applied to register a EUTM for MITOCHRON in Classes 3, 5 and 35. On 8 April 2013 Glaxo Group Ltd (‘Glaxo’) opposed the Class 5 goods on the basis of Article 8(1)(b) in respect of its earlier UK registration for MIVACRON in Class 5.

The Opposition Division upheld the opposition on 17 December 2013. This decision was appealed and dismissed by the Second Board of Appeal (‘BoA’) on 20 March 2015.

MWFCI bought an action at the General Court (‘GC’) against the dismissal requesting that the GC annul the decision, reject the opposition and order EUIPO to pay costs. (more…)

Brexit means Brexit

brexit-1481028_1920It’s been just over two months since the UK decided to take back control and, as the summer parliament recess comes to an end, IPcopy thought it would be a good time to take stock of where things stand.

The process of Brexit has been split between three Ministers – the Three Brexiteers of Johnson, Fox and Davis – which has already resulted in some turf wars. David Davis, heading up the Department for Exiting the European Union, has raised some eyebrows by claiming that the UK could do one-to-one trade deals with individual member states of the EU (it can’t) and that he wants to negotiate a trading area 10 times the size of the EU which sounds impressive until you realise that that would actually be 1.5 times bigger than the economy of the entire planet Earth1. (more…)

IP in the UK after the Brexit Referendum

GB+EU flagOn 23 June 2016 the UK public voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’). If and when the UK formally starts the exit procedure, there will be at least a two-year negotiation period before the exit itself occurs. So, any changes won’t be implemented for some time yet.

Any UK national IP rights will be unaffected by Brexit. Some EU IP rights that have effect in the UK will be affected to different extents. Crucially, no IP rights will be lost as a result of Brexit, although some transitional measures are inevitable.

IPcopy takes a look at the key impact Brexit will have on IP, and what you should be considering now. (more…)

Eye D (Case review O/094/16 – Opposition & Invalidity)

Eye D

This post contains a case review of O/094/16 (EYE D) Opposition – 10 February 2016; O/094/16 (EYE D) Invalidity – 10 February 2016.


The matter concerns Vision Care At Home Limited (‘VCH’) and Visioncall Limited (‘VL’), both concerned with eye care passports or reports primarily aimed at care homes for the elderly to assist staff in identifying the correct glasses to be worn by those being cared for.

VCH applied to register the mark  under Application No. 3032938, as well filing a declaration of invalidity against VL’s UK Registration No. 2652006 for EYE D on the basis of Sections 47(2) and 5(4)(a) and Sections 47(1) and 3(6) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (‘the Act’). VL later opposed VCH’s application on the basis of Sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) and 5(4)(a) and Section 3(6) of the Act. (more…)

Bad Faith and Trade Marks in China

Great WallAs IPcopy discussed back in 2013, Trade Mark Squatting has long been a concern of European businesses considering entering the Chinese market. Too often, European brands which have not registered their trade marks in China at the earliest possible stage, find that their trade marks are already registered to third parties without a legitimate interest in the mark by the time China features as a potential market in their business plans.

This can cause significant disruption to businesses as these earlier ‘bad faith’ applications act as bars to their own applications. Further, whilst trade mark registration is not a legal requirement to trade in China, many businesses find that their Chinese partners will actually request it as a condition to operate. The consequences of having one’s trade mark application refused in China because of an earlier bad faith application are, therefore, compounded, as walking away and trading without a registered mark may not be a viable option. (more…)

The Special One – Trade Marks and Image Rights

MourinhoIt has been widely reported in the general press in the last few days that ‘image rights’ issues have delayed the signing of the contract that brought Jose Mourinho to Manchester United as its next manager, following the departure of Louis van Gaal. However, as of this morning it appears that these issues have been overcome with confirmation that Mourinho has signed a three-year contract.

As we know, despite the 2015 Rihanna v Topshop Appeal decision, image rights as such are not protected by the English legal system, and the more discerning IP reporters have probably correctly identified that the tricky point might evolve around the registered trade mark for Mourinho’s name. (more…)

The only alternative to the EU is chaos? Brexit and trade marks/designs discussed at the CIPA Symposium

GB+EU flagThe European Council president Donald Tusk suggested recently that Brexit could bring chaos. Does this doom laden warning extend to the world of IP?

In an earlier post we covered the discussion at the CIPA Symposium on Brexit as it related to the unitary patent system (summary: Brexit probably won’t be good for the unitary patent). In this post we recap some of the issues discussed in the sessions on general legal implications of withdrawal from the EU, the impact on European trade marks and Community registered designs and some wider implications of Brexit. (more…)

OHIM* tells K-Swiss to jog on with their 5 stripe mark

shoeCase Review – T-3/15 K-Swiss v OHIM (Représentation de bandes parallèles sur une chaussure) – 4 December 2015 (Decision)


K-Swiss sought registration of the five stripe mark (see blog image) under the CTM designation of International Registration No. 932758 in Class 25 (“athletic shoes, namely tennis shoes, basketball shoes, cross-country and jogging shoes and casual shoes” as of 8 October 2013) on 23 May 2013.

The designation was refused protection on 4 March 2014 under Article 7(1)(b) – devoid of distinctive character. K-Swiss appealed this decision on 23 April 2014.

The Second Board of Appeal (BoA) dismissed this appeal on 30 October 2014 on the basis that the five parallel stripes do not have any original feature, such that they are banal generic embellishment in view of the widespread practice of using a stripe pattern on sports shoes.

The action to the General Court (Second Chamber) was filed on 6 January 2015. (more…)

The Community Trade Mark is changing – EU reform



Following the publication of the EU Trade Mark Directive and Community Trade Mark (CTM) Regulations Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 (the Amending Regulation), CTM practice is set for a number of important changes.

The initial changes come into effect on 23 March 2016, with further changes to follow.  We highlight below the key points which we think you should be aware of: (more…)