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23 February 2016
In accordance with the new Regulation (EU) No. 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council amending the Community trade mark regulation (EUTMR Regulation), which was enacted in December 2015, the EU Trade Mark System is being reformed and revised and certain changes to the system will be introduced with effect from 23 March 2016:
The name of the Office
The semi-ambiguous title of the Office (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market) will change to the more obvious and practical European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Trade Marks applied for or registered at that office will in future be known as European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs) rather than Community Trade Marks.
When filing a trade mark application, it will no longer be possible to cover three classes for the price of one. Instead a fee will be payable for an application covering one class with each additional class incurring additional costs.
The same fee structure will also apply to the renewal of a European Trade Mark Registration.
09 March 2016
On 09th March 2016, Ansons’ Trade Mark Attorney, Cherrie Stewart presented a seminar to budding entrepreneurs on the Belfast Enterprise Academy programme. The programme, funded by Belfast City Council, aids the participants, who are students drawn from Queen’s, University of Ulster and Belfast Met, to develop viable business ideas and business plans. This is Cherrie’s third year of involvement in the programme. She says “It is wonderful to see young people with such great ideas and enthusiasm. To introduce them to the importance and value of Intellectual Property and their need to be aware of both their own and that of others is a privilege. I look forward to seeing how these embryonic businesses grow and develop”.
21st March 2016
Ansons’ Trade Mark Attorneys work hard to keep abreast of current practise and case law.
Cliff Kennedy and Cherrie Stewart attended the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys’ Spring Conference in London from 16th - 18th March 2016.
With a theme of “History and Heritage” the topics presented ranged from PGI’s and PDO’s and the use of coats of arms to current case law and the new European Union Trade Mark Regulations which came into force on 23 March 2016.
We also met with trade mark attorneys from around the world, expanding and cementing the network of trade mark associates we can call upon when dealing with trade mark matters outside our jurisdiction.
31 March 2016
Comic Enterprises Limited (CEL) operate live entertainment venues across the UK under the Trade Marks Glee and The Glee Club and have been in business since 1994. CEL also own registrations for a series of two trade marks which contain Glee, since 2001.
Twentieth Century Fox (Fox ) produce the American series Glee which was first seen in the UK in 2009 and which has resulted in concert tours and spin off merchandising being sold, including DVDs.
CEL issued proceedings against Fox claiming trade mark infringement and passing off. In 2014 the English High Court ruled that Fox had infringed CEL’s registered trade marks but dismissed the claiming for passing off. Both parties appealed against the findings.
In a recent Judgement the Court of Appeal rejected all appeals.
Of critical importance to the trial Judge’s findings of a likelihood of confusion was “post-dated evidence”, that is, evidence from consumers who made a link between Fox’s sign and CEL’s trade mark because of their prior exposure to the Glee TV show. Fox argued that this “wrong way round confusion” was irrelevant.
The Court of Appeal rejected this argument stating that the order in which a consumer notices Fox’s sign and CEL’s trade mark is not irrelevant, infringement simply is whether there is a risk that the average consumer might think that the two entities are connected.
The Court of Appeal, however, held that there was no passing off, drawing a distinction between confusion and misrepresentation, the latter being a prerequisite for passing off and although CEL had established a reputation under its trade mark, the subsequent confusion was not sufficient to make out that there had been a misrepresentation by the other side.
Series of Marks
Fox also introduced a new claim which governs the registration of a series of marks, claiming that these type of marks are incompatible with the requirement at EU Directive level, that a trade mark must be a single sign which is capable of being represented graphically. If Fox successfully pursue this claim, it could potentially have a significant impact on proprietors of series trade marks as it could threaten the very legality of such marks.
The decision is a reminder that reputation alone may not be sufficient to protect a trade mark and that the best protection of all is to have a registered trade mark. It is also a powerful reminder to conduct clearance searches before adopting and using a trade mark.
04 April 2016
Jonathan White will attend the upcoming epi Litigation Committee Meeting being held in Munich from 7th to 8th April 2016.
The meeting will be attended by professional representatives drawn from across Europe and a number of important topics will be discussed, including the proposed Trade Secrets Directive.
Jonathan will also update the Committee on Ireland’s progress with ratifying the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) which, due to Ireland’s Constitution, will require a referendum before ratification may proceed. As Ireland has indicated its intention to form a local division of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), it is hoped that the referendum will be held as soon as possible so that Ireland will have legislation in place to ratify when the UPCA commences, although current indications are that it will be 2017 or even 2018 before the referendum will take place.
24 June 2016
As you are now aware, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union.
The first point is that today it is business as usual and the owners of Intellectual Property should not panic.
European Union Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs remain valid in the UK and there will be no immediate loss of IP protection.
European Patents will be largely unaffected as the European Patent Office (EPO) is governed by the European Patent Convention (EPC) of which a number of non-European Union member states are members, including Switzerland, Norway and Turkey. There may however be some affect upon the, yet to be initiated, European Unitary Patent.
Ansons’ ability to represent our clients before the European Union Intellectual Property Office or European Patent Office is unaffected.
The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) have released a statement stating that they will be
“…working hard with key stakeholders including the UK’s Intellectual Property Office and Minister for Intellectual Property to influence the forthcoming negotiations on exit from the EU and make sure IP is not forgotten. We will be looking to ensure the best possible outcome for members, owners of intellectual property rights and for practitioners in the UK”
Other Intellectual Property bodies have released similar statements.
Transitional provisions will be put in place to protect the rights afforded by existing European Union Trade Mark Registrations and Registered Community Designs in the UK. Whether this means that registrants will be able to partially convert their registrations into national UK registrations or that registrations filed before a certain date will continue to cover the UK has not yet been determined.
ANSONS’ Attorneys will monitor this extremely important issue and will provide updates and advice as, and when, developments occur.
07 November 2016
Ansons has joined forces with Women in Business NI and is offering a Masterclass entitled 'Intellectual Property – What, When, Where and Why?' on Tuesday, 22nd November 2016 from 9:30am to 12 noon at La Mon, Belfast.
Anyone involved in bringing products to market will find this event of relevance. Topics covered will include the protection of trade marks and designs, patents and copyright.
24 November 2016