When a certain Blogmeister suggested that this Kat prepare a post on the ST KILDA trade mark, she immediately thought of the inner Melbourne suburb with Luna Park and a certain football team and got peckish at the thought of Acland Street cake shops. In a whirlwind geography lesson, she has now learnt that there is more than one place called St Kilda in the world.
The "other", non-Australian and arguably the original St Kilda is an isolated archipelago 40 miles into the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a very small population: the only permanent residents are defence personnel, although a variety of conservation workers, volunteers and scientists visit during summer. The archipelago is owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and it became a World Heritage Site in 1986 (No 387).
As part of its marketing campaign, in May 2009 the local Western Isles Council made a Community Trade Mark application for ST KILDA (No 008283871) in Classes 9, 16, 35, 39, 41, 43. The trade mark was accepted and duly published in June 2009.
A spokeswoman for NTS is quoted as stating: 'The trust has appealed against this decision [by OHIM] to the European Court of First Instance. Since St Kilda is owned and cared for by the NTS it seems logical that any trade mark would be too [Merpel wonders how many good arguments that open with the words "It seems logical" have ever actually been accepted by the General Court in the absence of specific references to provisions of the Community Trade Mark Regulation and Court of Justice case law]. The trust is also concerned that this decision could have the potential to set a precedent in relation to the many other iconic places in our care, which are important to all Scots, meaning that individuals or bodies who do not own the properties involved would have the exclusive rights to commercially exploit that name. Given that the trust is a charity, this would be far from ideal'.
quoted as saying: 'The St Kilda name and story generates resonance and interest at an international level. The Comhairle’s ownership of the trade marks presents an opportunity to maximise the quality and consistency of the branding and messaging associated with St Kilda to a worldwide audience, for the benefit of the Outer Hebrides'.
The IPKat recalls with amusement the days when place names couldn't be registered as trade marks in the UK: even if they were 100% distinctive in fact, they were 0% distinctive in law. He'd like to know, though, if there was a real St Kilda. Any details, readers?