Wednesday, 17 June 2015

London Taxi Corp sues over Metrocab

Bloomberg reports (15 June) that the manufacturers of classic black London taxis, now owned by Chinese manufacturer Geely, is taking exception to a new environmentally-friendly rival, Metrocab. One of the partners in the Metrocab company, which like The London Taxi Corporation is based, as any respectable British vehicle manufacturer should be, in Coventry (or Abingdon, of course, or Malvern), is Frazer-Nash research: so are the new cabs to be chain-driven?

So far there appears only to have been a preliminary hearing, The London Taxi Corporation Ltd. v. Frazer Nash Research Ltd. & Anr, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, HC14B01502. (It turns out, now that the judgment is available - see below - that it was an application relating to survey evidence, which the judge Spearman J was not inclined to allow.) Bloomberg reports that London Taxi alleges that Metrocab "breaches its trademarks", which they would not have written had they paid attention. The verb is "infringe" not "breach" and trade mark is two words ... But London Taxi Corporation has several registered trade marks covering the shape and appearance of their product (for example this one), so potentially there is infringement. Are the trade marks vulnerable to attack on the grounds that the design is generic, I wonder? And is the Metrocab similar enough for there to be a likelihood of confusion? It certainly looks significantly different to me, but I might not be an average user of London cabs.

Update: The London Taxi Corporation Ltd (t/a the London Taxi Company) v Frazer-Nash Research Ltd & Anor [2015] EWHC 1840 (Ch) (03 July 2015)

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