For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

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Wednesday, 25 January 2006

DISCO DAZE


The IPKat is grateful to Ilanah’s trade marks class for pointing him in the direction of a story in the London Student. King’s College London Students Union has been threatened with a trade mark infringement action by SchoolDisco.com. The company is known for organising club nights under the SchoolDisco name, where the wearing of undersized school uniforms is de rigeur. It argued that KCLSU should hand over all profits from events that it organised according to a “School Disco” theme.

The issue has been settled, with KCLSU agreeing to use the school disco sign in small letters only and together with the Kings College London Student’s Union name. The company is also said to have threatened actions against approximately 50 other student’s unions. SchoolDisco.com’s lawyer said: "We are not able to differentiate between different trade mark infringers and, unfortunately in the case of a Student Union, have to commence action against all trade mark infringements regardless of the size or circumstances of that infringer". The IPKat doesn’t understand this reasoning. This suggests that the lawyers are sending out infringement letters to infringers without bothering to find out who they’re going to. Surely the fact that the addressee has the words students’ and union in its name is a bit of a giveaway regarding the nature of the defendant? In any event, the name itself doesn’t sounds a tad descriptive. Even if SchoolDisco.com has acquired distinctive character, the students’ unions would have a good shot at a descriptive use defence, since they’re describing the nature of their events.

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