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Friday, 29 August 2003

TRANSFRONTIER SCUPPERS ITS TECWEN APPLICATION

Contrary to earlier speculation Tecwen Whittock, the man whose coughs steered "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" cheat Major Charles Ingram to a famous TV triumph and then to prosecution, will not be lending his name to any new anti-cough products. Whittock applied to register his name as a trade mark after a north London company decided to cash in on the game show fraudster by launching a cough mixture called Tecwen Relief with the strapline "One answer, one choice".

On 28 April, just three weeks after Whittock, Ingram and his wife Diana were found guilty of attempting to cheat on the ITV quiz show after Whittock's 19 coughs guided the major towards the right answers, Transfrontier Ltd of Hendon applied to register the slogan TECWEN RELIEF... ONE ANSWER, ONE CHOICE as a UK trade mark for pharmaceutical preparations and substances. Whittock, who knew nothing of the plan, was only alerted to it when he heard a rumour that his name was to be used for a cough medicine. To counteract the attempt to hijack his name, he applied on 16 May to register the word TECWEN, following which Transfrontier's original application was abandoned. Whittock said he had no intention to launch any products using his name: "What I wanted to do initially was to stop other people using the name. I've got no plans to launch a cough sweet or whatever myself, but I certainly don't want a company doing it without my permission".

The IPKat comments: "Despite nearly ten years of harmonisation within the EU, there is still no common standard by which 'bad faith' applications are measured. For Community trade marks the applicant -- like Tecwen in this case -- need not have any intention to use his mark. In the UK, however, if the applicant lacks the necessary intention, the application should be refused or, if it is accepted, it will be liable to cancellation".

Who Wants to be a Millionaire website here and here
Remedies for coughs here, here and here
Remedies for fraud here and here


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