Advantage, applicant! UKIPO will not block third-party applications to register names of famous sportspeople as trademarks

Tennis season withinside the United Kingdom is now duly underway and with Wimbledon starting simply posterior week mind flip to tennis gamers as brands. Individual tennis gamers must recall defensive the figure of theirnon-public hallmark the use of a portfolio of trademarks, and a current selection of the appointed person( 1)( AP) related to notorious footballers has stressed the want for sportspeople and different well- known people to take a visionary fashion to hallmark safety withinside the United Kingdom.



 An organisation trading as Global Trademark Services Ltd( GTS) applied to register the four marks shown in Figure 1 below as UK trademarks in class 25 for" apparel, footwear and hat". 


 Figure 1 applied- for trademarks 

The register at the UK Intellectual Property Office( UKIPO) raised expostulations to all four operations under section 3( 6) of the Trade Marks Act 1994( TMA) on the base that they had been made in bad faith. At a hail, the hail officer waived the expostulations in relation to WALLACE and CLARK but upheld the expostulations in relation to RONALDINHO and HENRY, meaning that these two operations couldn't do to enrollment . 



In written reasons for this decision,( 2) the hail officer stressed the need for the register to act as a" doorkeeper"( 3) to the trademarks register, and this included precluding aspirants who appeared to have no connection to a notorious person from registering the notorious name as a UK trademark. counting on the case of Neymar,( 4) she reasoned that there was a" rebuttable presumption of bad faith", meaning that bad faith on the part of an aspirant in similar circumstances was to be presumed until the aspirant either handed a presumptive explanation for wanting to register the name or demonstrated that they had the concurrence of the notorious individual concerned. This approach, she said, would cover the interests of both the notorious person and consumers who could else be misled. 


 The hail officer conceded there's no right of hype or personality, or right to cover a person's image or likeness, in the United Kingdom, but treated that as inconsequential for the purposes of the bad faith form expostulations. She appertained to colorful passing off conduct in the United Kingdom( 5) in which notorious individualities had been set up to enjoy goodwill in their particular brand and concluded from these that there was compass for a right of personality to live in some form in the United Kingdom. 

The hail officer also stressed as applicable to her decision the fact that GTS had indicated that it had" hundreds of analogous marks to register" pointing to a" pattern of geste 

 " that could" impact the enrollment of trade marks and those relating to notorious people in particular". She said" I don't suppose it an magnification to say that there would be a serious threat of the medium of trade mark enrollment being brought into reproach."( 6) In response to the argument that these views didn't sit fluently with having waived the expostulations in relation to the WALLACE and CLARK operations, the hail officer said 


 I've to point out that each mark is examined on its own graces... such an approach may give rise to the question of what position of fame is needed in relation to whether the register decides to intermediate on a given case. This is a question of individual circumstance.( 7) 

The hail officer concluded her written reasons by saying 


 without the concurrence of( Ronaldinho/ Henry) I consider the operation to have been made in bad faith.( GTS) was given the occasion to gain concurrence to the use and enrollment of the mark from( Ronaldinho/ Henry) but appears to have chosen not to do so.( 8) 

GTS appealed to the AP, its primary argument being that the hail officer was, in effect, conferring a" right to a name" on notorious individualities. 



 Sitting as the AP, Geoffrey Hobbs QC set aside the hail officer's decision. It was clear from his own spoken decision that he dissented entirely with the approach taken by the register, describing it as" fairly deficient" and" procedurally inferior".( 9) 


 The AP's main review was around the" rebuttable presumption of bad faith". In his view, no similar presumption was. The AP said that, rather, the register should have progressed on the base that there was a" rebuttable presumption of good faith" and he explained his thinking in this way 

It's peremptory on the appellant to overcome the' rebuttable presumption of good faith'. That's done by filing substantiation which is sufficient to make it possible for the decision taker to conclude that the queried operation for enrollment was filed in bad faith. The decision taker can also do to find( i) that the' rebuttable presumption of good faith' has been rebutted if the person indicted of bad faith form has handed no' presumptive explanations' for pursuing the queried operation for enrollment ; or( ii) that the' rebuttable presumption of good faith' has not been rebutted if the indicted person has handed similar' explanations'. The end result of the process of assessment is an overall finding to the effect that the appellant has( or has not) succeeded in rebutting the' rebuttable presumption of good faith'. In my view, it's inconsistent with the governing presumption to invert that into an overall finding to the effect that the indicted person has( or has not) succeeded in rebutting a' rebuttable presumption of bad faith.( 10) 


 The AP went on to punctuate that there's no legal or executive demand in the United Kingdom for a person requesting enrollment of a mark to make a claim to procurement of the mark they're seeking to cover. rather, title to a trademark arises solely by virtue of an entry in the register relating the natural or legal person( s) to whom the original instrument of enrollment is issued on completion of the enrollment procedure. thus, the register had been wrong to bear GTS to show it had some" claims to the names" it wanted to register. There was no sculpt out from this principle for notorious individualities. In the AP's view, the approach espoused by the register had effectively conferred a" right to a name" on notorious individualities but the AP was satisfied that no similar right was in law in the United Kingdom. 

The AP criticised the register's approach further, saying that it amounted to examining trademark operations for conflicts with earlier unrecorded( passing off) rights.