Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More Fish” trade mark enrollment?

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Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More Fish” trade mark enrollment?

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 and also the terms PLENTY MORE FISH as A british trade mark. The usa site compared, but did it have grounds? Miah Ramanathan states the verdict.

Topic: Brands

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

just just What took place:

An endeavor with A united states based website that is dating have the enrollment of an identical brand name by way of a british company declared invalid on grounds of passing down unsuccessful during the tall Court since the United States web site didn’t have clients in the united kingdom.


The defendant started an on-line dating agency in 2006 and registered a figurative trade mark including 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 agency that is dating offshore underneath the title PLENTYOFFISH, presented a credit card applicatoin into the British Intellectual Property workplace for a statement of invalidity according of this Trade Mark under section 5(4)(a) associated with the Trade Mark Act 1994 (the “TMA”).

The applying had been in the foundation that the Trade Mark constituted an infringement of this 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 used in great britain would otherwise be avoided under any guideline of legislation (in specific regulations of moving down) protecting an unregistered trade mark or indication from getting used in the length of trade.

The Registrar dismissed the claimant’s application in February 2011 from the foundation that there have been no grounds for the statement of invalidity desired considering that the claimant had did not offer proof so it had supplied services that are dating clients in britain and for that reason created goodwill in the united kingdom as at April 2007 (the date associated with the defendant’s application for the Trade Mark). The claimant appealed to your tall Court which needed to deal with whether the claimant had any rights in moving down in the UK. In specific, the High Court had to considercarefully what comprises goodwill as soon as the investor is a foreign business that is web-based.

The tort of passing down

“a person just isn’t to market their very own items under the pretence they are the items of another man” (Perry v Truefitt (1842) 6 Beav. 66 at 73).

The tort of passing down enables a trader to safeguard the goodwill they will have produced inside their company and their trade mark from unjust competition in the shape of usage by an authorized of an indication which will have the end result of “passing off” the party that is third items or solutions as those of this investor.

To be able to bring an action that is successful moving down, a claimant must match the “classical trinity” test established by Lord Oliver into the Jif Lemon instance (Reckitt & Colman items Ltd v Borden Inc 1990 RPC 341):

1. There must be evidence of reputation or goodwill 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 his items or solutions are the ones associated with claimant; and

3. the claimant must show that the defendant’s misrepresentation would end up in real harm, or an odds of harm, to your goodwill into the claimant’s company..

Judgment associated with the Tall Court

Birss Hon QC upheld your decision of this Registrar. Aside from the known proven fact that British nationals had checked out the claimant’s PLENTYOFFISH internet site plus the standing of that site when you look at the UK, the claimant merely didn’t have any UK based clients. Therefore, it would not offer online dating services to British clients and had perhaps perhaps not produced any goodwill in britain. The failure to ascertain the presence of goodwill in its online dating services in the united kingdom intended 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 great britain people to its PLENTYOFFISH internet site must be construed as the clients. The claimant’s enterprize model operated by giving its online dating services totally free via account for the web site and attained income through the purchase of ad space on the site to 3rd events. Consequently, the claimant proposed that its British site visitors produced income for the continuing company by just virtue of these trip to the internet site.

Having paid attention to these arguments, Birss Hon QC decided that for a part for the public to be a client regarding the claimant’s company it should have obtained 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 provision of marketing solutions on or before April 2007 to 3rd events ended up being unimportant towards the claimant’s application to invalidate the defendant’s Trade Mark.

Why this things:

Birss Hon QC’s choice accompanied the judgment of Lloyd LJ in resort Cipriani v Cipriani (Grosvenor Street) Ltd 2010 RPC 16 which determined that “an undertaking which seeks to determine goodwill with regards to a mark for items or services cannot do this, nevertheless great could be the trustworthiness of their mark into the UK, unless it’s clients on the list of public in great britain for those of you items”.

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

The judgment additionally helpfully clarifies the idea that an associate of this public whom gets and utilizes solutions of the business that is web-based be considered become a client of muzmatch hookup these company, irrespective or no matter whether the solutions are given for the cost or totally free.

Moving forward, international web-based companies should bear in mind that website hits from British based site site visitors won’t be evidence of British clients. Current instance legislation supports the view that the courts don’t accept that the company with clients in britain may exist without goodwill. Nonetheless, for the international company to create goodwill in the united kingdom through the use of a name, mark or indication, it must offer solutions in respect of this title, mark or indication to clients in the united kingdom.

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