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Wednesday, 24 August 2005


Divide and rule: a good way of exploiting UK trade marks, or a minefield?

IPKat co-blogmeister Jeremy is doing some research on territorially limited trade marks in the light of section 24(2) of the United Kingdom's Trade Marks Act 1994 which provides for the partial assignment of a registered mark in relation to, among other things, the use of the mark in a particular locality.

The Trade Mark Registry's Work Manual says:
"Partial assignments (also called “split marks”) are not policed by the registrar; it is the responsibility of proprietors to ensure they avoid confusion or deception in the marketplace, and so putting their marks at risk of revocation action.

Once a mark is split, each part becomes a registration in its own right, identified by a single-letter suffix, and must be separately renewed".
The IPKat - who hasn't ever come across a local assignment of a nationally registered trade mark - thinks a little strange that if, say, he obtains registration in the UK of the word mark BONGO for blodgets, he can divide the UK up into little packages and assign the BONGO separately to assignees in Scotland and Wales or, more extremely, in Bristol and Birmingham. The map (right) offers some attractive suggestions as to how a UK trade mark might be zonally registered. Jeremy has already made a list of six interesting legal and commercial problems that can result from local assignments and hopes to add to them The results of his research will be posted on the blog in due course.

If anyone has any useful information, experience or thoughts on the subject, can he please email Jeremy and let him know?


IslandHopper said...

Not forgetting the Shetland and Orkney Islands....

Anonymous said...

Where has the Isle of Man gone? It isn't even white, like Ireland - it's just vanished...

Anonymous said...

In keeping with the European Commission's economic policy the Isle of Man, being a "zone of small geographical significance", has been approximated to the UK mainland.

As for Les îles d'Orkney et de Shetland, they were formally ceded to the French Government in exchange for a small reduction in the French agricultural subsidies.

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