It’s not yet available on BAILII, but today’s decision in Eurodrive Car Rental Ltd v Enterprise Rent-a-Car has been noted on the LexisNexis-owned Butterworths All England Direct subscription service.
The applicant applied to registrar a series of trade marks, each of which consisted essentially of a stylised version of the letter ‘E’, for use in relation to the hire of vehicles (Class 39). The opponent, who owned a number of trade marks which consisted of a device resembling the letter ‘E’, under sections 5(2)(b) and (3) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (which guard against the likelihood of confusion and provide protection for the reputation of a mark). The hearing officer dismissed the opposition and the opponent appealed, arguing that the hearing officer had made a mistake and that his decision should be set aside. The applicant argued that the court should interfere with the decision only if there had been a manifest error on the part of the hearing officer, or a procedural irregularity, and not because the court might, on balance, have come to a different view.
Mr Justice Laddie dismissed the appeal. The question for determination under s 5(3) was whether there was, or appeared to be, a link which a user of the goods, seeing the marks at issue, would have considered was a link between them and, if so, whether that link was one which was likely to have given an unfair advantage to the applicant, or to have been harmful to the reputation and character of the opponent’s mark. The hearing officer was entitled to conclude that members of the public would not have associated the applicant’s marks with the opponent’s marks. Accordingly, there were no grounds on which to interfere with the conclusion of the hearing officer.
The IPKat thinks the hearing officer was dead right -- and so was Mr Justice Laddie. Merpel sometimes gets very depressed by these little case notes. It’s all very well using legal words like “applicant” and “opponent”, but she does like to know the identity of each of them.
Other interesting things about E here, here and here