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Category: Brands & Trade Marks

Be Careful What You Say – Intellectual Property and Unjustified Threats

In 2023, a London cyclist, who posts footage to a YouTube Channel under the name of 'Chapona Bicyclette' showing vehicles making dangerous manoeuvres around or near cyclists, uploaded footage of a van overtaking the cyclist in an allegedly dangerous manner. The cyclist also sent the footage to the company that owned the van (Cornices Centre), with an expectation of an apology and assurance that the driver of the van would receive an appropriate reprimand. Instead, the cyclist received an email…

Responding to a Cease and Desist Letter: Let SH&P Guide You

Receiving a cease and desist (“C&D”) letter can be a daunting experience for any business and probably feels even worse if you are a small business or a sole trader. A C&D is a formal way of someone saying, "Hey, we think you're infringing on our intellectual property rights." But before you panic, remember, SH&P is here to help you navigate through tricky waters.

Thatchers Cider Company Limited v Aldi Stores Limited – Another Win for Branding "Lookalikes"

On 24th January 2024 a decision was issued by the IPEC court (Thatchers Cider Company Limited v Aldi Stores Limited [2024] EWHC 88 (IPEC), determining that Aldi’s ‘lookalike’ cloudy lemon cider did not infringe Thatchers’ trade mark registration, nor did it pass it off as its own. It would seem that Aldi has, once again, successfully evaded liability for another of its alleged "imitation" products. Whilst some quarters had hoped the decision would depart from those that came before it…

UK Address for Service Requirement for Trade Marks & Designs - New Rule Now In Force

  What is a "Comparable Right"? At "Brexit", the EUIPO took steps to withdraw the representational rights of all non-EU based representatives. On 1st January 2021, all registered EU trade marks and Community designs were "cloned" and re-registered, creating new and independent comparable UK trade mark registrations and comparable UK registered designs. These comparable rights were automatically entered on the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) register and must now be managed separately and renewed at the appropriate dates by…

UK Customs 'Applications for Action' (AFA's)

Customs can help fight counterfeiting by detaining goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights. To ask customs to take action, IP right owners need to lodge an Application for Action or AFA. Before Brexit, two types of AFAs provided protection in the UK, namely: national AFAs and EU-wide AFAs. But since 1 January 2021, EU AFAs granted before the end of the Transition Period no longer have the same scope. Depending on where the EU AFA was granted, the Application…

UKIPO ends period of interrupted days and it's back to normal

(Updated 3rd July 2020) Following its regular review since 24th March of this year the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has now brought an end to the application of automatic extensions to all deadlines that had fallen on “interrupted” days. The system of interrupted days has been in direct response to the Coronavirus and its impact on businesses addressing matters before the UKIPO. Consequently, it has been announced that the sequence of interrupted days will cease as from 29th July…

The "Skykick" Case - A Key Decision for Practitioners

Introduction On 29 April 2020, the High Court issued a decision that use of the trade mark SKYKICK in the UK infringed Sky Plc’s registrations for the mark SKY. While the finding of infringement is not especially noteworthy in itself, the decision is of great significance to brand owners in general and their representatives as explained below. Background Sky Plc, the well known television broadcaster, sued SkyKick UK Ltd, a company supplying cloud migration IT services, for trade mark infringement…

Chocolate Wars: Cadbury loses two battles over purple trade mark rights

Chocolate battles won and lost, but the war is not over... If you asked someone to imagine Cadbury chocolate, most people would immediately think of the purple packaging. The iconic purple hue, registered as a trade mark for the shade Pantone 2685C since 1995, has been the confectionery giant’s signature colour for decades. The “Dairy Milk” product is just one example of this. However, despite Cadbury’s established rights in the purple colour variant there has been a long-running “chocolate war”…

McDonald’s Lose Their BIG MAC Trade Mark Registration

It's Supermac's 1 – 1 McDonald's, but we're not done yet in this burger trade mark case... Most people (other than vegetarians of course) have enjoyed a McDonald’s “Big Mac” or two in their lives. The burger seems to have been around for ever.  You would probably find it surprising therefore that McDonald’s have recently lost their trade mark protection for the words BIG MAC in the European Union. Not only that, McDonald’s lost their trade mark registration because they could not…

Genericism - are brand names safe?

Do you know what all these brands have in common?  Hoover, Jacuzzi, Frisbee, Escalator, Thermos, Yo-Yo They were once highly effective trade marks but have since been categorised as a generic term for certain goods because many people now refer to them collectively by the trade marks rather than by a specific brand. One everyday example is Hoover – we’ve become so accustomed to calling all vacuum cleaners Hoovers that the term has become generic for these goods. Same goes…

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