Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More trade mark registration that is fish?

Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More…

Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More trade mark registration that is fish?

Written Osborne Clarke on 07 Nov 2011

US internet dating that is website launched in 2001. British competitor “Plenty More Fish” set up in 2006 as well as in 2007 filed to join up a seafood logo design while the words PLENTY MORE FISH as A british trade mark. The usa site compared, but achieved it have grounds? Miah Ramanathan states the verdict.

Topic: Companies

Who: Plentyoffish Media Inc, the claimant and lots More LLP, the defendant.

Exactly exactly just What took place:

An endeavor with A united states based website that is dating have the enrollment of the same brand by A british company declared invalid on grounds of passing down unsuccessful in the tall Court since the United States internet site didn’t have clients in britain.


The defendant began an internet agency that is dating 2006 and registered a figurative trade mark integrating the words „PLENTYMOREFISH“ for agency online dating services in course 45 in October 2007 (the „Trade Mark“). In October 2008, the claimant, whom since 2001 had additionally operated an on-line dating agency based overseas beneath the title PLENTYOFFISH, presented a software to your UK Intellectual Property workplace for a statement of invalidity according associated with the Trade Mark under section 5(4)(a) for the Trade Mark Act 1994 (the „TMA“).

The applying ended up being in the foundation that the Trade Mark constituted an infringement associated with the claimant’s typical legislation liberties in moving down. Part 5(4)(a) of this TMA provides that a trade mark shall never be registered if its use within the united kingdom would otherwise be avoided under any guideline of legislation (in specific regulations of passing down) protecting an unregistered trade mark or indication from used in the course of trade.

The Registrar dismissed the claimant’s application in February 2011 from the foundation that there were no grounds for the statement of invalidity desired due to the fact claimant had didn’t offer proof so it had supplied services that are dating clients in britain and as a consequence produced goodwill in the united kingdom as at April 2007 (the date of this defendant’s application for the Trade Mark). The claimant appealed to your tall Court which had to address whether the claimant had any legal rights in moving down in the united kingdom. In specific, the tall Court had to think about what comprises goodwill once the investor is really an international business that is web-based.

The tort of passing down

„a person just isn’t to offer their very own items under the pretence that they’re the goods of another man“ (Perry v Truefitt (1842) 6 Beav. 66 at 73).

The tort of passing down enables a trader to guard the goodwill they will have produced within their company and their trade mark from unjust competition by means of usage by an authorized of an indicator which will have the end result of „passing off“ the 3rd party’s products or solutions as those associated with the investor.

To be able to bring an action that is successful moving down, a claimant must match the „traditional trinity“ test founded by Lord Oliver when you look at the Jif Lemon instance (Reckitt & Colman items Ltd v Borden Inc 1990 RPC 341):

1. there has to be proof of goodwill or reputation in britain attached with the products or solutions;

2. the claimant must show that throughout the span of the defendant’s trade, the defendant misrepresented, whether or otherwise not deliberately, to your public that their products or solutions are the ones associated with the claimant; and

3. the claimant must show that the defendant’s misrepresentation would end up in real harm, or a probability of damage, into the goodwill when you look at the claimant’s company..

Judgment of this Tall Court

Birss Hon QC upheld your decision regarding the Registrar. Regardless of the known proven fact that British nationals had checked out the claimant’s PLENTYOFFISH web site therefore the trustworthiness of that internet site into the UK, the claimant just didn’t have UK based clients. Consequently, it failed to offer online dating services to British clients together with maybe perhaps maybe not produced any goodwill in the united kingdom. The failure to ascertain the presence of goodwill in its online dating services in the united kingdom suggested that the claimant hadn’t pleased the „traditional trinity“ ensure that you consequently the defendant’s utilization of the Trade Mark would not represent passing down.

The claimant had additionally argued that the united kingdom people to its PLENTYOFFISH site should really be construed as the clients. The claimant’s business design operated by providing its online dating services totally free via account associated with internet site and received revenue through the purchase of marketing room on the internet site to 3rd events. Consequently, the claimant recommended that its British visitors created income for the company by simply virtue of these stop by at the web site.

Having heard these arguments, Birss Hon QC decided that for an associate of this public to be a client for the claimant’s company it should have received and utilized services that are dating the claimant. This argument failed as the claimant had failed to provide evidence that it had provided dating services to UK customers. The supply of advertising services on or before April 2007 to 3rd events ended up being unimportant into the claimant’s application to invalidate the defendant’s Trade Mark.

Why this issues:

Birss Hon QC’s choice used the judgment of Lloyd LJ in resort Cipriani v Cipriani (Grosvenor Street) Ltd 2010 RPC 16 which figured „an undertaking which seeks to ascertain goodwill with regards to a mark for items or services cannot achieve this, but great will be the standing of his mark into the UK, unless it offers clients one of the public that is general the united kingdom for anyone items“.

The end result of the instance adds fat to your human body of current situation legislation which calls for a international business that is web-based show the existence of UK based clients whom receive and make use of its solutions so that you can bring an effective claim for moving down.

The judgment additionally helpfully clarifies the purpose that an associate associated with the public whom gets and utilizes solutions of a business that is web-based be deemed become a client of these company, irrespective or no matter whether the solutions are supplied for the cost or cost-free.

Moving forward, international businesses that are web-based be aware that website hits from British based site visitors will not be evidence of British clients. Current situation legislation supports the scene that the courts don’t accept that a company with clients in britain may exist without goodwill. But, for a business that is foreign produce goodwill in britain by utilizing a title, mark or indication, it should provide solutions in respect of the title, mark or indication to clients in britain.

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