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X Marks the Spot in IP Battle

Trade marks are jealously protected by their owners. A recent case shows how even seemingly uncontroversial trade marks can be found to infringe existing trade marks and proves the need for care in such circumstances. The case involved tyre giants...

Use It or Lose It

Having a trade mark is all well and good, but a recent case should serve as a reminder that failing to use trade marks may lead to them being lost. The case involved a trade mark for a cigarette brand which was registered to a tobacco company in the USA. ...

Do You Know Who Actually Owns the Patents You Depend On?

A great many companies depend on patents for their profitability, and doubts over ownership of intellectual property (IP) rights can put their very survival in jeopardy. This point was illustrated in a case that concerned a number of patents in respect of...

Court Robust in Protection of Motor Giant Trade Mark

Motor giant BMW, challenging a decision over the use of its trade mark with which it disagreed, has won its appeal in the Court of Appeal . The dispute was over the use of BMW trade marks by a small London garage business, Technosport, which repairs and...

Place Name Trade Mark Prevents Confusion

Newspapers periodically contain stories about the restrictions on use of terms that are geographically well known, for example the restriction on the use of the word 'Champagne' to describe sparkling wine. In addition to geographical restrictions, proper...

Shape Change Not Inventive

For a patent to be valid, it is not sufficient that it is simply something new. There has to be an inventive step over the 'prior art', so that the item or process for which the patent is sought is not an obvious development. This test is at the heart of...

Internet Search Confusion Not Enough for Trade Mark Infringement

Argos is a well-known retailer in the UK and owns its trade name. However, the argos.com web domain is owned by a US company which specialises in computer-aided design and that company uses 'Argos' on its website as well as in its domain name. Argos took...

Pioneering Psychologist Blocks Abusive Use of His Name Online

A recent case in which web searches for a pioneering psychologist led to a website selling shoes and clothes shows the extent to which Nominet, the Internet watchdog, will act to protect the rights that people have in their own names. The psychologist had a...

High Court Keeps Commercially Sensitive Product Information Secret

Litigation often requires disclosure of highly sensitive commercial details. However, as one intellectual property case concerning a mapping database showed , the courts do have sophisticated means of keeping such information under wraps. A company had...

Developing Others' Ideas Can Itself Be Novel and Inventive

Patents that merely repeat pre-existing ideas are invalid – there has to be something novel about an invention to secure patent protection. However, that does not mean that developments based on the work of others cannot themselves be novel and...
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