Friday, 8 August 2014

BP loses colour trade mark battle - IP Whiteboard - KWM

Mallesons' excellent IP Whiteboard  blog tells us that BP last month lost its latest attempt to register a shade of green, identified as Pantone (R) 348C, as a trade mark in Australia, there being no evidence to show that consumers identified the source of the goods from the colour alone. Being embroiled myself in opposition proceedings, where a client has fallen foul of another company's sweeping colour trade mark registration, I wish we took a similar approach in Europe: without added matter, a colour trade mark should be registered only if it constitutes the brand (Orange, for example), not just an ancillary part of it. Of course it may be that in the UK BP meet this requirement, but there are other colour trade marks that don't come close and which therefore constitute unjustified monopolies, and insurmountable barriers to entry for overseas businesses trying to enter the UK market.

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