In another twist to the saga of trade mark protection for dishwasher tablets, the Daily Telegraph reports that Reckitt Benckiser went to court yesterday to protect the shape of its Finish Power Ball dishwasher tablets. Reckitt is appealing against the decision of the Trade Marks Registry, which held that its rectangular tablets with a red ball in the centre which is meant to represent extra cleaning to remove tough stains, was not distinctive. The company, whose action is being opposed by their rival, McBride, told Mr Justice Mann:
“No one else has anything like this…It is so out of the ordinary that it will stick in the mind of the purchasing party. They will say ‘I don’t want that one, I want a tablet with a ball sticking out of the top, because it made my glasses shiny last time”.However, McBride argued that the Powerball was
“not different enough to be a trademark [sic], and that the consumer would not see the shape as product specific”.The IPKat awaits the result of this decision with interest and will of course bring you coverage when Mann J delivers his decision. He doesn’t know of any successful attempts to register the shape of a dishwasher tablet as a trade mark (and not for want of trying on the part of their producers). However, if any of his readers know of such an application that has gone through, he’ll make sure that they’re the proud recipient of a small yet tasteful prize.
More powerballs here and here
More red balls here, here , here and here and here