Triumph of Style over substance?

Last Wednesday, 21 November, Mr Justice Norris gave a ruling in the Chancery Division (England and Wales) in UK Channel Management Ltd v E! Entertainment Television Inc and another (see here for an earlier post on this dispute). Channel ran a home and lifestyle channel under the name 'UKTV Style', while E! sought to launch a new channel called 'The Style Network'. Channel owned a Community trade mark for the figurative mark 'UKTV Style' (above, right). In May 2006 E! applied to register, also as a Community trade mark, a logo incorporating the word 'Style' for the broadcasting and production of TV programmes. Channel objected to that registration on 29 May, then sued in the UK for trade mark infringement and passing-off.

In this application Channel sought permission to amend its particulars of claim. E! objected to Channel's amendments, saying that they constituted an attack on Community trade mark opposition proceedings. Accordingly, E!, argued, permission to amend should be refused out of respect for the Community process.

Norris J was not impressed with this objection and allowed Channel's amendments. In his view it was the original pleadings, not the proposed amendments, that raised the spectre of duplicative process. The proposed amendments did not take the case into territory that had not already been covered by the original pleadings.

Sadly, the LexisNexis Butterworths note doesn't give any clue as to what the original particulars and the proposed amendments are about. Says the IPKat, this is irritating, because in their absence there's no point in reporting the case at all. Adds Merpel, this is in the traditional BBC radio style of news, though: it's just like "A woman was found dead in a house in North West England last night. A man is helping police with their inquiries": quite probably true, but not much use.
Triumph of Style over substance? Triumph of Style over substance? Reviewed by Jeremy on Saturday, November 24, 2007 Rating: 5

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