Monster Energy Company recently opposed the registration of a letter mark that it alleged was visually, aurally and conceptually identical to its own stylised M logo. The hearing officer's decision is a useful reminder that simple marks which consist of one stylised letter may enjoy a narrow scope of protection and it may be hard for owners of such marks to monopolise a single letter in and of itself. Further, the comparative stylisation of single-letter marks is given significant weight in assessments of similarity.
The government recently published a further Brexit IP regulation which corrects and clarifies certain provisions in the five Brexit IP regulations that came into force in 2019. The latest regulation also incorporates the United Kingdom's obligation in the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that the outcomes of EU trademark and registered community design cancellation actions that are pending at the end of the Brexit transition period – currently 31 December 2020 – bind the comparable UK rights.
Traditionally, lenders have taken security over the tangible assets of borrowers. However, within the last few decades, lenders have begun to recognise that intangible assets (eg, IP rights) have realisable value and so potential to be used as part of a package – or even the basis – of security. While taking security over IP rights is now an established process, where the intellectual property is of significant value, careful consideration is required as to the rights to be secured and the type of security to be granted.
Licensors of IP rights may soon be unable to terminate licences where the licensee has gone into an insolvency process. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, which recently came into force, reverses a previous legal position in relation to contracts for the supply of goods and services meaning that such contracts cannot be terminated simply because of a counterparty entering an insolvency process.
A recent Intellectual Property Enterprise Court decision is a useful reminder that a finding of trademark infringement is more likely where the mark has been used extensively and has an enhanced level of distinctiveness in the United Kingdom. Further, evidence of actual confusion can support and augment a court's assessment of the likelihood of confusion and need not be first hand or submitted in high quantities to be valuable.