The IPKat brings you news of a recent UK Trade Mark Registry decision. The Quorn Hunt, a hunt based in Leicestershire, applied to register QUORN HUNT and THE QUORN HUNT for a number of goods related to the hunt. Marlow, the manufacturers of the Quorn meat substitute for vegetarians, objected, arguing that there was a likelihood of confusion for some of the goods for which its QUORN mark was registered and also that the registration infringed s.5(3) of the UK Trade Marks Act (vegetarians and hunting don’t mix too well). The IPKat notes the following points of interest:
-There is a discussion of the strength and distinctiveness of coined marks in the analysis of likelihood of confusion.
- Although the harm identified was said to be detriment “of the tarnishing kind” in the end the detriment was described as detriment to distinctive character. This seems to stem from some confusion between the two concepts in the LCAP’s decision in the Visa case.
- It was confirmed that origin confusion will fall within s.5(3). However, the Hearing Officer seemed to be requiring actual confusion, which is a stricter requirement to that under s.5(2)(b) (confusion-based infringement).
- The Hearing Officer interpreted Mastercard v Hitachi as only requiring a likelihood of dilution since it would be impossible in many opposition cases to show actual dilution since the opposed marks either have not been used or have only been used on a small scale.
-The Hearing Officer seemed sceptical about whether survey evidence to prove detriment under s.5(3) could ever be properly collected. The IPKat wonders whether, in light of his comments on the role of dilution under s.5(3), survey evidence of actual confusion may do the job.
- Even though the Quorn Hunt had argued that it had been entitled to arrange a hunt called the Quorn Hunt for 300 years, it did not have due cause to use the QUORN HUNT mark. However, this was its own fault since it failed to provide evidence to back up its claimed 300 year entitlement.
Things to do with Quorn here
Quorn warnings here and here
Vegetarians watch out here
Tuesday, 9 November 2004
Posted by Ilanah at 1:11:00 a.m.