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Trade mark protection does not end at registration, and trade mark enforcement does not need to involve lengthy litigation or extensive legal fees for brand owners. Having a good trade mark enforcement strategy is essential in ensuring that a brand owner’s trade mark not only remains proprietary to them, but that it also does not become vulnerable to genericism.
Having formally left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) is now in the transition period, which allows it to remain part of the EU intellectual property (IP) system until 31 December 2020. That’s only a few weeks away.
“If a man (or woman) invents a new article and protects it by a patent, then during the term of the patent, they will of course have a legal monopoly, but when the patent expires all the world may make the article, and if they may make the article they may say that they are making the article, and for that purpose use the name which the patentee has attached to it during the time when he had the legal monopoly of the manufacture.” - Lord Davey in the case of Cellular Clothing Co v Maxton & Murray
Virtual reality has been on the rise in the past years and is a growing and dynamic area of technological advancement and development. In 2020, through necessity, many of us have found ourselves conducting various aspects of our lives, everything from business meetings to birthday parties, through virtual platforms.
If one accepts that innovation is crucial to business sustainability especially in the disruption era in which we live, there appears to be a need to better explain the purpose of intellectual property and how these rights together with workplace policies on performance can assist businesses adapt and compete.
A case in point is the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) recent decision to refuse French company Les Grands Chais de France’s (LGCF) application for registration for the trade mark 'Nosecco' for non-alcoholic wines. The UKIPO held that the name Nosecco would evoke the image of the increasingly popular geographical indication (GI) Prosecco in consumers’ minds.
Various Discovery companies took Liberty Group Limited to court over Liberty’s use of Discovery’s VITALITY and DISCOVERY registered trademarks in relation to the Liberty Lifestyle Protection Plan.
The Pretoria High Court has ordered the cancellation of many trade marks in the name of LA Group (Pty) Limited, including for POLO and logos which include a polo player and pony. The court found that the marks were not distinctive and do not function as a badge of origin.
It is important that a trade mark is used as non-use could lead to the cancellation of the mark, if it has not been used for 5 years, which is illustrated by the PRIMARK case which has resulted in the removal of the mark from the South African trade marks register.