Lawrence Graham's angle on intellectual property, media and sport issues.
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  • Jessops' IP and other assets purchased by consortium

    The Jessops brand and certain assets of Jessops, the collapsed high street camera retailer which went into administration at the beginning of January, have been purchased by a consortium.

    The sale included intellectual property rights owned by the retailer, including various trade marks and domain names. Lawrence Graham's Intellectual Property team were instructed to assist on the purchase of the various intellectual property rights from Administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

    Jessops, originally founded in Leicestershire in 1935, became the first high street casualty of 2013, followed shortly after by high street chains HMV and Blockbuster. High street retailers have seen profits fall ...

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  • An update in the Cadbury v Nestlé trade mark battles

    Nestlé has won its appeal to have its trade mark for the shape of its four fingered "Kit Kat" chocolate bar reinstated following a successful objection from rival confectioner Cadbury.  

    Nestlé applied to register the shape of its chocolate bar as a three dimensional community trade mark in 2006 in class 30 covering "Sweets; bakery products; pastries; biscuits; cakes and waffles".  However, Cadbury filed an objection to Nestlé's trade mark claiming that the registration of the trade mark should be precluded on the basis that the four fingered shape was generic and could not be monopolised.  

     

    The Cancellation ...

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  • Battle of the Budweiser trade marks

     

    The American company Anheuser-Busch Inc (AB), owner of the trade mark 'BUDWIESER', has failed in its application for the cancellation of Czech manufacturer Budejovicky Budvar Narodni Podnik's (BB)'s identical trade mark.  AB claimed BB's trade mark was invalid on the grounds that it infringed AB's mark.  The Court of Appeal rejected AB's application and held that BB's trade mark remained valid as both brands have been used side by side in the market for many years.  

     

    The background to this dispute can be traced back to the 1970s when AB started selling beer in the UK in ...

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  • UKIPO announces additional IP support for SMEs

    The Intellectual Property Office ("IPO") has announced new measures designed to help small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") protect their intellectual property.

    The measures form part of the government's new Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth, which is intended to increase investment in research and innovation in the UK.

    The changes are a consequence of the Hargreaves review which proposed that the IPO should produce plans to improve the accessibility of the intellectual property system to smaller companies.

    The Department for Innovation, Business and Skills has said SMEs will benefit from:

    • Free IP audits through organisations such as the Technology ...

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  • A Guide to the Patents County Court

    The Patents County Court ("PCC") handles smaller, less complex, lower value IP related actions. It has jurisdiction to hear all types of IP disputes, including cases involving patents, trade mark infringement, copyright and design rights (both registered and unregistered). The court aims to provide a cheaper, speedier and less formal forum for resolving disputes.

    High value cases or those involving complex evidence are likely to be unsuitable for this court, as are cases which require a large number of witnesses, as cross-examination is strictly controlled and trials last no more than two days.

    Trials are heard by a single judge ...

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  • Threatening Trade Mark Infringement – A Summary

    The Trade Mark Act 1994 (TMA) contains provisions designed to prevent groundless threats of infringement proceedings which may otherwise cause damage to businesses.  Any person who receives such threats is entitled to counter-sue and seek damages.

    What is a threat? A communication will be considered a 'threat' if the ordinary recipient would understand it as being a threat of infringement proceedings. It can be made orally or in writing and may be implied or express. The threat must be directed at someone specific to be actionable.  So, trade mark owners may be able to send a general warning in a ...

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  • Twitter succeeds in trade mark dispute

    A month ago we reported that Twitter had issued opposition proceedings in the U.S. against advertising company Twittad in relation to its registered trade mark 'Let Your Ad Meet Tweets'. The two companies have now reached an agreement whereby Twitter has agreed to abandon its opposition proceedings and in return, Twittad will transfer its registered trade mark "tweet" to Twitter.

    The settlement brings to a close a legal wrangle that had been rumbling on for several years. In a statement, Twitter spokeswoman Lynn Fox said, "We've arrived at a resolution with Twittad that recognizes consistent use of Tweet while supporting ...

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  • Plenty of fish is not enough...

    Last week, the High Court held that where a foreign entity is seeking to rely on passing off, that entity must be able to demonstrate goodwill in their unregistered trade mark in the UK to have grounds for a claim.

    Plenty More LLP, a UK firm, started an online dating website in 2006 and in 2007 it applied for the trade mark "plenty more fish" in class 45 for "agency services(dating), computer dating services, dating agency services, dating services". 

    An American company called Plentyoffish Media Inc ("PMI"), launched an opposition to the trade mark application under section 5(4)(a) of the ...

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  • Lady Gaga gags Lady Goo Goo

    This week, Lady Gaga, the popular American singer, won an injunction in the High Court preventing an animated character called Lady Goo Goo from releasing a music single.

     

    Lady Goo Goo is a character in the popular online game 'Moshi Monsters' which is owned by the UK company Mind Candy.  The game is aimed at children between the ages of 6 to 12 and involves players adopting 'moshling' characters.  The Lady Goo Goo character had released a song on YouTube called 'The Moshi Dance'.

     

    The injunction secured by Lady Gaga has prevented the song's full release on iTunes.  ...

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  • M&S unveils the latest superfood – hybrid broccoli

    British academics have succeeded in combining the valuable additional nutrients of a bitter-tasting, wild Sicilian broccoli with that of its more taste-bud-friendly English cousin. The new variety, Beneforté, contains much higher levels of the phytonutrient glucoraphanin than standard varieties of broccoli. It is the result of a natural cross-breed with no genetic modification.

    Glucoraphanin is a naturally occurring chemical that has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer as well as boosting antioxidant levels. Broccoli is the only commonly eaten vegetable to contain meaningful levels of this chemical.

    As the latest entrant to ...

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