Another bit of UK trade mark law reform

Right: sometimes an address for service can be a real headache.

This time it's the Patents, Trade Marks and Designs (Address For Service and Time Limits, etc) Rules 2006 (2006 No. 760), which also come into force on 6 April 2006. According to the Explanatory Note,
"These Rules amend the Design Right (Proceedings Before Comptroller Rules) 1989 (SI 1989/1130, as amended), the Patents Rules 1995 (SI 1995/2093, as amended), the Registered Designs Rules 1995 (SI 1995/2192, as amended) and the Trade Marks Rules 2000 (SI 2000/136, as amended).

The requirements in each of those Rules to provide an address for service are liberalised. The amendments made by these Rules will allow applicants for registered rights (patents, trade marks and registered designs) to provide an address for service in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, another EEA State or the Channel Islands. Although, during any proceedings before the comptroller or registrar an address for service in the United Kingdom will be required unless the comptroller or registrar otherwise directs.

These Rules also liberalise the provisions in the Patents Rules 1995, the Registered Designs Rules 1995 and the Trade Marks Rules 2000 relating to any delays caused by "interrupted days" (which are days where there are disruptions at the Patent Office or in the postal system).

These Rules also amend provisions in the Registered Designs Rules 1995 relating to the registration of interests and insert a provision into the Trade Marks Rules 2000 which facilitates electronic communications by the registrar".

Red Bull, Red Faces?

Miri Frankel strikes again! The IPKat's NY-based friend has just sent him this item about the renaming of sports teams. It opens:
"Sports fans have long been accustomed to stadiums and arenas taking on corporate brand names. Consider Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals play, the Washington Redskins's FedEx Field and, of course, the home of the Houston Astros, known briefly as Enron Field.

But the recent purchase of a Major League Soccer team by the energy drink company Red Bull has taken naming rights a step further. This month, the soccer team formerly known as the MetroStars converted to the New York Red Bulls.

It is a name change that some marketers hope will open a new front in the commercialization of professional sports. Red Bull, which is based in Austria, paid the Anschutz Entertainment Group more than $100 million this month for the rights to the MetroStars club, a share of a planned stadium and the stadium's naming rights.

The team immediately acquired the Red Bull name, and at the opening game on April 2, players will don jerseys bearing the Red Bull logo".
The IPKat was already getting a little worried by something at this point - but so was the author of the article, who writes:
"But there are also potential pitfalls for marketers: What if the brand, or the team, goes south?

"The risk is, What happens to the team when a product starts selling badly?" said Allen Adamson, managing director of Landor Associates, the brand and corporate identity agency that is part of the Young & Rubicam Brands division of the WPP Group. "It is a very risky strategy. Especially when you choose something that's both an energy drink and an alcoholic mixer."

The obvious danger of the direct association is that the company cannot easily disassociate from the team, or vice versa, Mr. Westerbeck said.

"The team really goes out and becomes a brand ambassador for the product," he said, adding that while naming rights on stadiums are often changed, it would be more difficult to alter a team name. "The name, of course, can be changed again, but right now it's like a tattoo"".
The IPKat says, that could easily be a case of Red Bull. Red Faces. Merpel however is now speculating on other forms of tie-in, for example the law firm that takes on the brand name of one of its clients. Might we expect such treasures as Finnegan Henderson & Winnie the Pooh (F&H have done work for Walt Disney, after all), or Fross Zelnick Maidenform Muppet ...
... AND HERE'S ANOTHER ONE; RED BULL, RED FACES? ... AND HERE'S ANOTHER ONE; RED BULL, RED FACES? Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, March 23, 2006 Rating: 5

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