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Letter marks considered by UKIPO: M-phatically dissimilar marks
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 August 2020

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.

New Brexit IP regulation sets out effect of EU cancellation on comparable UK rights
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 August 2020

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.

Security over intellectual property
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 July 2020

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.

IP licensing and insolvency reform: ipso facto clauses
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 July 2020

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.

IP licences and insolvency
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 July 2020

As the impact of COVID-19 is felt throughout the economy, even those companies able to weather the storm are likely to feel the effects of corporate insolvency as collaborators, customers and suppliers find themselves in financial difficulty. This article focuses on the impact of insolvency on IP licences from the perspective of both licensors and licensees. It also contains top tips for mitigating the risks.

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act – what's changed?
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 10 July 2020

After the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill was published on 20 May 2020, it raced through the House of Commons and the House of Lords, coming into force in under six weeks as the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020, with some of the temporary measures taking effect from 1 March 2020. Although the new tools are entirely untested, the sooner they become an integrated part of the UK restructuring landscape, the better.

COVID-19: a shield against winding-up petitions?
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 26 June 2020

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill was recently laid before Parliament. The bill contemplates a temporary ban on statutory demands presented from 1 March 2020 as a ground for presenting a winding-up petition and on winding-up petitions presented from 27 April 2020 unless the petitioning creditor has reasonable grounds for believing that COVID-19 has not had a financial effect on the debtor company or that it would have been insolvent even if COVID-19 had not had a financial effect on it.

IPEC considers trademark infringement and passing off in pet food dispute
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 22 June 2020

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.

Sky emerges victorious in trademark infringement battle against Skykick
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 15 June 2020

The latest chapter in a long-running saga saw the High Court issue a final judgment in Sky v Skykick following the European Court of Justice's decision in January 2020. The High Court's judgment demonstrates that a finding of partial invalidity for overly broad trademarks due to bad faith may not necessarily taint the entire registration and deal a deathblow to the infringement claim.

Significant insolvency reform for United Kingdom: Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 05 June 2020

The much-anticipated Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill was published on 20 May 2020. The proposed legislation is split into two broad categories: temporary provisions brought about as a result of COVID-19 and permanent provisions which will result in fundamental changes to UK insolvency law. The proposals, both temporary and permanent, reflect a shift towards a more debtor-friendly regime.

Compatibility of liquidation and adjudication
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 February 2020

Generally speaking, the purpose of adjudication is to speed up cash flow and allow the speedy resolution of disputes, while the purpose of liquidation is to resolve the final accounting position between two parties in respect of all of their dealings. As a result, there are often incompatibilities between the two regimes. A recent Technology and Construction Court decision provides the latest judicial guidance on the ability of a company in liquidation to refer a dispute to adjudication.

Company voluntary arrangements: secured creditors' (almost) impenetrable rights
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 January 2020

High-profile use of company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) has led to widespread media coverage and controversies. Household names such as Jamie's Italian, Prezzo, Toys R Us, Mothercare, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and more recently Debenhams are among the growing list of companies that have followed this well-trodden path, with varying degrees of success. This article briefly covers the CVA process, analyses Debenhams' recent High Court appeal and discusses the impact of CVAs on lenders.

Claridge's, candles and cautionary tales
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 07 October 2019

The name Claridge's brings to mind one of the most luxurious hotels in London rather than court rooms and trademark law. Trading since 1856, the hotel is unlikely to have foreseen its recent dispute with a company which has sold candles and reed diffusers under the name Claridge since 2018. The case serves as a stark reminder that trademark searches must be completed prior to launching a new brand or product name.

Liability of administrators for economic loss of a creditor
Taylor Wessing
  • Insolvency & Restructuring
  • United Kingdom
  • 06 September 2019

In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeal confirmed that administrators owe a duty to all creditors and cannot be held personally liable for the economic loss of a creditor where no special relationship exists. In coming to its decision, the court showed a willingness to look at the commercial realities of the decisions that administrators must make on a daily basis.

UKIPO considers whether LINKEDIN is similar to KINKEDIN
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 05 August 2019

The UK Intellectual Property Office recently upheld LinkedIn Ireland Unlimited Company's opposition to JK Solutions' registration of the word mark KINKEDIN in Class 45 designating, among other things, internet and video dating services. Despite the high degree of aural and visual similarity between LINKEDIN and KINKEDIN, the examiner held that there was no likelihood of confusion on the basis of conceptual dissimilarity alone.

UKIPO considers distinctiveness of OKAYEST for consumer products
  • Intellectual Property
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 March 2019

In 2016 McMug Ltd successfully filed a UK trademark application for the mark OKAYEST for a number of products, including beer mugs, chinaware and flasks. However, AMC Photographics Limited challenged the mark's validity on the grounds that, among other things, it was devoid of distinctive character and was a wholly descriptive dictionary word (a superlative of okay). This case is a useful reminder that, even after registration, a mark can be challenged on the grounds of non-distinctiveness and descriptiveness.

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