Earlier this week the EUIPO Board of Appeal found that there was no reason to refuse the registration of BREXIT as a trade mark. Brexit drinks currently wish to register food supplements, energy drinks, brewery products and cigarettes.
An objection was originally raised on the grounds that the mark was both descriptive and offensive; referring to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and with potential to offend offensive the average European consumer and in particularly the 48% UK residents that voted in favour of staying in the EU.
The Board of Appeal commented that “BREXIT embodies a sovereign political decision, entirely taken in conformity with the Lisbon Treaty and the UK’s constitutional requirements and it has no moral connotations whatsoever”. Their final decision was based on the principle where the registration of a trade mark cannot be barred because the idea might offend a certain part of the public.
In regards to the distinctiveness of the mark, the Board of Appeal found the “BREXIT” to be highly memorable, stating that consumers of energy drinks or cigarettes bearing the “BREXIT” mark would have no problem in either avoiding or repeating the purchase on future occasions.
There have been several recent attempts to register “BREXIT” trade marks with the EUIPO. All were refused registration on the grounds that they were considered offensive and/or devoid of distinctive character and/or descriptive, The latest decision may now pave the way for further similar registration of such marks.
Techradar reported this week on the “trademark trolls” who are targeting the streaming app Kodi by illegitimately claiming the trademark for Kodi in countries outside of the US.
In 2014 Kodi changed its name from XBMC and as the company had no previous copyright issues with the previous name, Kodi has since admitted it was “caught flatfooted without any real plan for dealing with these trolls or even tracking their actions.”
According to a post on the Kodi website Kodi does now have a plan, which involves directly name-checking the ‘trolls’ however whilst it references several individuals trying to make money off the Kodi name only one is named. Kodi state “while our goal has always been to avoid going to the court to ensure Kodi remains free in countries where trolls are attempting to get rich from the Kodi name, we will not back down from protecting the free, open source nature of our software. If that time comes for legal action, we hope to have the community’s support.”
We Work v UrWork
In the US WeWork, the American shared-office provider is gearing up to challenge UrWork its Chinese rival for trademark infringement. WeWork have stated that it will cause confusion and lead clients to believe the two companies are affiliated.
UrWork have responded that “There is no question that UrWork’s services imitate WeWork’s”. and that “Work is a common English word” Ur Work founder Mao Daquing says he does not see UrWork as a direct rival as they are targeting Chinese start-ups moving abroad and foreign start-ups entering China. He also comments on the hundreds of Chinese start-ups in China with a two-letter prefix attached to the word “work”