Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Trade marks for shopping centres

Not new case - the judgment was handed down in July - but as I have just been looking at it, I thought a comment on Land Securities and others v Registrar of Trade Marks would be worthwhile. The judge (Floyd J) concludes that there is no reason why, if a trade mark can be registered for retail services, shopping centres cannot be allowed to build their own brands.

On the basis of the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (commonly referred to as the European Court of Justice, which assumes that the European Communities, and the Union, is co-extensive with Europe) in Case C-418/02 Praktiker Bau- und Heimwerkermärkte AG [2005] ECR I-5873 which established that trade marks should be capable of being registered, in class 35, for "retail services". Shopping centres have brands and rely on their goodwill to attract customers - which is the reason retailers take places in the shopping centres to start with.

Shopping, the judge observed, is a major leisure activity. A day out at a shopping centre is akin, I suppose, to a day out at some other attraction. But is that reason enough for another extension of trade mark protection? The law in ths area has always had to adapt to new usages of trade marks, of course, and it was the CJEC that drew the line that this case observed. But little by little the English language is being enclosed by commercial interests, and so too are graphic designs - often pretty banal ones. It just seems too easy for businesses to get trade marks these days.

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online