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Showing posts from December, 2019

Patents - Adolf Nissen Elektrobau GmbH & Co KG v Horizont Group GmbH

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Jane Lambert

Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (HH Judge Hacon) Adolf Nissen Elektrobau GmbH &Co KG v Horizont Group GmbH [2019] EWHC 3522 (IPEC) (18 Dec 2019)

This was a claim for revocation on grounds of obviousness of UK patent number GB2410366 Mobile for a warning device for road traffic. The patentee was the Horizont Group GmbH which is a private company incorporated with limited liability in Germany. The party seeking revocation was Adolf Nissen Elektrobau GmbH & Co KG, a German limited partnership with a limited company as the general partner.  The parties compete in the business of electric road traffic signs.  The action came on before His Honour Judge Hacon on 5 and 6 Nov 2019.  He delivered judgment in Adolf Nissen Elektrobau GmbH & Co KG v Horizont Group GmbH [2019] EWHC 3522 on 18 Dec 2019.

The Invention
The patentee claimed the following monopoly:
"1. A mobile warning device for road traffic with a board to be mounted on a vehicle on which strobe ligh…

Pitfalls of Buying Heritage Brands - Aiwa Co Ltd. v Aiwa Corporation

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Jane Lambert

Chancery Division (Mr Justice Mann) Aiwa Co. Ltd v Aiwa Corporation [2019] EWHC 3468 (Ch) (13 Dec 2019)

This was an appeal by Aiwa Co. Ltd. against Mr Mark Bryant's decision on behalf of the Registrar of Trade Marks in Re AIWA trade marks, Aiwa Co. Ltd. v Aiwa CorporationBL O/071/19 4 Feb 2019 to revoke trade mark numbers 10673771313883, 1483522, 1483523  and 1500565 for non-use and to allow trade mark number 3242803 to proceed to grant in the name of Aiwa Corporation.  The appeal was heard by Mr Justice Mann on 21 Nov 2019. He delivered judgment on 13 Dec 2019. In Aiwa Co. Ltd v Aiwa Corporation [2019] EWHC 3468 (Ch) (13 Dec 2019) his lordship dismissed the appeal though for different reasons than those of the hearing officer.

There was once another company called Aiwa Co Ltd. which had been a big name in consumer electronics. That company fell on hard times and was bought by the Sony Corporation in 2003.  Sony tried to relaunch the AIWA brand for a new range of pro…

Re VERA LYNN, Lynn v Halewood International Brands Ltd.

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Jane Lambert

Trade Marks Registry (Ms A Skilton) Re VERA LYNN, Lynn v Halewood International Brands Ltd,BL O/766/19 12 Dec 2019

Dame Vera Lynn was born in 1917 and is still going strong.  Known as the forces' sweetheart her broadcasts, sound recordings and concerts contributed enormously to military and civilian goodwill during the second world war.  One of her most famous songs is The White Cliffs of Doverwhich she recorded in 1942.   Halewood International is a major manufacturer and distributor of alcoholic beverages whose brands include Crabbie's, Lambrini and Dead Man's Fingers.

On 14 June 2018 Halewood applied to register the name VERA LYNN for alcoholic beverages (except beer) and spirits in class 33.  Dame Vera filed a notice of opposition relying on s.5 (4) and s.3 (6) of the Trade Marks Act 1994.  In her statement of grounds Dame Vera said:

"The Opponent is an extremely well-known singer and performer whose musical recordings and performances have been popular…

Fromageries Bel SA v J Sainsbury Plc

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Jane Lambert

Chancery Division (HH Judge Hacon) Fromageries Bel SA v J Sainsbury Plc [2019] EWHC 3454 (Ch) (12 Dec 2019)

This was an appeal against Mr Allan James's decision of 13 Feb 2019 that the registration of the above 3-dimensional sign under trade mark number UK2060882 was invalid. The hearing officer held that 'the colour red' in the description of the mark was insufficiently clear or precise and that a particular hue of red should have been specified.

The proprietor's grounds of appeal were as follows:

"(1) The Hearing Officer erred in applying the Sieckmann criteria to a mark that is not a colour mark per se.
(2) The Hearing Officer erred in failing to interpret the registration as being limited to the red colour shown in the pictorial representation of the registered mark.
(3) Alternatively, if the Sieckmann criteria apply to a mark that is not a colour mark per se and if the registration was not already limited, then the Registered Proprietor should be …

Re Wong Lo Kat Trade Mark, Multi-Access Ltd v Guanghzhou Wong Lo Kat Great Health Business Development Co Ltd

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Jane Lambert

Chancery Division (Mr David Stone) Re Wong Lo Kat Trade Mark, Multi-Access Ltd v Guanghzhou Wong Lo Kat Great Health Business Development Co Ltd[2019] EWHC 3357 (Ch) (12 Dec 2019)


This was an appeal from the decision of the hearing officer, Mr Mark King, to revoke British trade marks 1495166 and 1495167 pursuant to s.46 (1) (a) and (b) of the Trade Marks Act 1994:

"The registration of a trade mark may be revoked on any of the following grounds-
(a) that within the period of five years following the date of completion of the registration procedure it has not been put to genuine use in the United Kingdom, by the proprietor or with his consent, in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered, and there are no proper reasons for non-use;  (b) that such use has been suspended for an uninterrupted period of five years, and there are no proper reasons for non-use...."
The appeal came on before Mr David Stone sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court …

The Appeal: Ablynx NV and Another v Vhsquared Ltd and Others

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Jane Lambert

Court of Appeal (Lord Justice Lewison and Newey and Lady Justice Asplin) Ablynx NV and another v VHsquared Ltd and others [2019] EWCA Civ 2192 (10 Dec 2019)

This was an appeal against His Honour Judge Hacon's decision in Ablynx NV and another v Vhsquared Ltd and others [2019] EWHC 792 (Pat) (29 March 2019) which I discussed in Choice of Forum - Ablynx NV and Another v Vhsquared Ltd and Others28 July 2019.  A patentee and its exclusive licensee brought patent infringement proceedings in the Patents Court against the English company, VHSquared Ltd. and various members of the Unilever group.  The defendants relied on a licence from the patentee that conferred exclusive jurisdiction on the Belgian courts.  They applied for the infringement proceedings in England to be stayed pending the Belgian courts' decision on whether the claim should proceed in the UK or Belgium.   Judge Hacon refused their application on the ground that the English courts had exclusive jurisdicti…

Cryptoassets and Smart Contracts

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Jane Lambert

in its Legal Statement on Cryptoassets and Smart Contractsthe UK Jurisdiction Taskforce ("UKJT") published the opinions of  Lawrence Akka QC, David Quest QC, Matthew Lavy and Sam Goodman ("the drafting committee") on a number of legal questions relating to cryptoassets and smart contracts where there are areas of perceived uncertainty.

The Institutions

The UKJT is chaired by Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court and consists of Lawrence Akka QC, Sir Nicholas Green, Chair of the Law Commission of England and Wales, as an observer, Richard Hay of Linklaters LLP. Peter Hunn of the Accord Project, Mary Kyle of the City of London Corporation, Christopher Woolard of the Financial Conduct Authority and Mr Justice Zacaroli.  The publication was delivered by the LawTech Delivery Panel which describes itself as "an industry-led, government-backed initiative, established to support the transformation of the UK legal sector through tech." It ap…

Patents - Conversant Wireless Licensing v Apple Retail UK and Others

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Jane Lambert

Patents Court (Mr Justice Birss) Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL v Apple Retail UK Ltd and others [2019] EWHC 3266 (Pat) (29 Nov 2019)

This was a claim for the infringement of British patent GB2365712, The claimant, Conversant Wireless Licensing Sarl, has acquired a large patent portfolio in mobile telecommunications and related technologies (including the patent in suit) which it offers to license.   It alleged that certain features of the user interface of the iPhone infringed the patent.   Apple Inc and its British and Irish subsidiaries denied infringement and challenged the validity of the patent on grounds of obviousness. There was also an application by Conversant to amend the patent mainly by substituting the words "smartp phone" for "computing device" wherever they occurred and adding some wording to Claim 1. The action came on before Mr Justice Birss who tried it on the 4, 5, 6 and 8 Nov and delivered judgment on 29. His lordship found at p…