We take legal research very seriously - in order to fully understand the implications of the most tasty dispute of the year, Colin vs Cuthbert, we had to undertake a detailed examination of Colin, including, of course, his taste. What we discovered will have implications for businesses across the land. The furore over Colin v Cuthbert has died down and the dispute appears to be heading toward settlement (either that or Cuthbert has had a very long time to file his Defence). C
Miss Recorder Amanda Michaels, sitting as a judge in the IPEC, has upheld a claim for passing off in a dispute between two jewellery designers. The claim was brought by Alyssa Smith Jewellery Limited, founded by Alyssa Smith, against Alisa Goodstone, who trades as Alyssa Jewellery Design. Ms Smith has operated a business since 2009, including via the websites www.alyssa-smith.com and (later) www.alyssasmith.co.uk as well as using the Twitter handle @AlyssaJewellery. She claim
Passing off is often added as an afterthought to a trade mark infringement action. In those circumstances, it is very often successful. The line between a deception (required for passing off) and likelihood of confusion (trade mark infringement) is subtle but there is a significant degree of overlap between the two. However, where there is no registered mark and it is first necessary to establish goodwill in a particular name, logo or get up, the relevant deception is much mo
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
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
With IP worth 75% of a business’ value why do less than 13% of businesses have IP insurance?
It’s fascinating to read the insurance industry’s perspective on this phenomenon: Protecting Intellectual Property in the new world order. I find insurance (& third party funding) essential in many disputes. In most cases, this is "After the Event" or ATE insurance.
Matthew Hogg and Edward Cartwright's article makes a great point that many people forget: you may assume that you have
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
Legal innovation is often equated with one of the incredible new AI tools that are unveiled at tech events on a regular basis. However, the key software package that lawyers use on a daily basis throughout the world remains Microsoft Office. Like it or loathe it, this is where legal innovation is for the vast majority of lawyers. This is a fact to be embraced and celebrated! Once you have a quick rummage under the Microsoft Office hood, there is an array of useful tools which
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
Is help coming to tackle the scourge of counterfeits sold on online marketplaces? Counterfeit goods affect all businesses as they grow from fashion to merchandise and related goods. On 15 December 2020, the European Commission published its “Europe fit for the digital age” proposals: the Digital Services Act (the DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) . If adopted, they will replace the eCommerce Directive, which was introduced 20 years ago. DSA obligations The DSA is particularl
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.