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Wednesday, 6 July 2005

PEARLS OF WISDOM FROM THE TM REGISTRY


Lawd love a duck – the IPKat has found this somewhat odd decision from the UK Trade Mark Registry. The Pearly Guild is a charitable association founded in 1902. The tradition was handed down through the generations but the Guild fell apart at the time of the Second World War. However, it was reformed briefly in 1977, though again it fell apart. The Guild was further reformed in the late 1990s and provision was made for those who had not been born into its traditions to join as associate members. A group broke away from the main Guild in the early 2000s. This group applied for the registration of PEARLY GUILD as a trade mark. The pre-existing Pearly Guild opposed the mark on bad faith grounds.

The opposition was rejected. The Hearing Officer held that

*The test for bad faith is a combination of the subject and the objective. As well as dishonesty, bad faith may include business dealings which fall short of the standards of acceptable commercial behaviour.

*Much of the opponent’s evidence and submissions were aimed at showing that committee members were removed and meetings held contrary to the Guild’s Constitution. This, however, was not the relevant issue as such. Instead, the relevant issue was whether the mark had been applied for in bad faith as of 2 November 2002.

*The Guild’s Constitution provided no support for the claim that the mark belonged to the President of the Guild.

*Although control of the group was a contentious issue, all parties were supportive of the strategy of corporate charitable status and trade mark recognition. Also, the evidence showed that if there had been a breakaway, it had not happened by the time the application was made.

*While the hereditary nature of the Pearly King and Pearly Queen titles was raised, provision was made in the Constitution for non-hereditary associate members to take titles and serve on the Committee of the Guild.

*There was no evidence to support any allegation that the applicant’s actions were the result of undue motivation or influence. The Guild’s strategy of securing corporate, charitable status and trade mark registration had widespread support. There was no reason to believe that the applicants did not have the Guild’s best interests at heart and were putting a long-planned business strategy into effect.

The IPKat doesn’t quite understand this decision. Whether or not the course of action of registration had been agreed on, and whether or not the applicants were motivated by the Guild’s best interests, it makes a big difference here who gets the trade mark.

Pearly people here and here
Cockney capers here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No comment, but breaking news: EP rejects Software Patent Directive:

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&ncl=http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/ap/2005/07/06/ap2124966.html

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