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Friday, 25 April 2008

My GP, or is that MyGP?

I received the following email from someone calling themselves "Kappa". The subject matter caused my whiskers to twitch, and I thought I would pass it on to my readers:

"Dear Tufty

I believe that you have frequently been known to get your teeth and claws into applicants and Examiners at the UKIPO when your sharp eyes observe some pretentious IP claim that deserves to be torn to shreds [Tufty comment: see here for an example]... With your perception you might have thought that Section 3 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 was going fine when Application 2444542 for the VILLAGE VET for veterinary services was properly refused earlier this year, and perhaps safeguarding the general interests of animal doctors around the country might be closer to your heart, but you should still be shocked, I feel, to learn that application 2447125 for MyGP for, yes, medical services (probably merely for humans, but who can be sure), has been accepted and published for opposition. Now, not being young in years myself, I regret to say that I do have to make regular visits to myGP (did you notice the missing space). That is to say the doctor in the local village where I am registered. MyGP is a friendly chap and offers a range of medical services, including a dentist on the premises, as may frequently be found in GP practices across the country. When I forget the number of myGP, I expect I may have to call 118 118 and ask them for myGP's telephone number. I won't be wanting ADP Dental Company in Reigate, I can assure you. And I can't imagine anyone else outside Reigate would either.

"GP" is an absolutely commonplace abbreviation for "General Practitioner" or shorthand for everyone's local medical doctor, or provider of medical services. I know that grammatic perfectionists will point out that MyGP lacks the space which should appear in the written word, but does anyone say "My-space-GP"? and anyway, wouldn't that risk another infringement of Myspace these days? Personally, I cannot understand how the Hearing Officer was ever persuaded to allow this application - did he get a free MRI scan - I think his head needs scanning for sure - it seems to me this application offends every line of Sections 3(1)(a)(b)(c) and (d) and there is no indication of any argument of distinctiveness having been acquired though use - surely this is one example, where it just never ever could acquire distinctiveness or recognition as a trade mark? No ordinary person is ever going to take a reference to "MyGP" as being anything else than a reference to the person's local doctor. Please would you get your claws out and scratch an appropriate part of the UKIPO anatomy!

In case you think your village vet is safe, you might also check out UK 2467643 - we know that nature may be red in tooth and claw, but having the same descriptive mark in red or black doesn't seem to justify registration to me..."
Perhaps an astute reader would be so kind as to suggest: i) how this mark could have survived getting through the examination procedure (and a hearing, according to the register) on absolute grounds, ii) why the mark should not now be opposed, iii) whether it has anything to do with this website, and iv) if anyone plans to do anything about it. Any suggestions or comments are very welcome.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

We don't have a problem with "My-" marks here in Australia. While I might refer to 'my GP', think about it - trade marks are supposed to indicate the trade origin of goods and/or services. "My-" marks work just fine for that. "YOUR-" marks, on the other hand ...

In response to the VILLAGE VET TMs - one is plain word. The other has a device element. You cannot compare the acceptance of one with the rejection of the other (unless you think a dog with red spots is a 'usual' representation).

If your correspondent was going to be thick enough to ring up and ask for the number for "myGP", he deserves what he gets. I'd be asking directory assistance for the number corresponding to the name and location of my doctor. But that's just me, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Can Tufty and Kappa please set out , and partcularise their grounds of objection ?

Tufty the Cat said...

I was hoping that my readers might be able to help with that.

FOARP said...

I'll take a stab at it:

1) It consists exclusively of language descriptive of the kind and intended purpose of the goods and services,and thus excluded under section 3 (1)(C) of the UK Trade Marks Act 1994.

2)It consists exclusively of language customary in the bona fide and established practices of the medical trade and is thus excluded from registration under section 3(1)(d) of the UKTMA 1994.

3) It consists of language likely to deceive the public as to the origin of the goods and services offered and is excluded under section 3(3)(b) of the UKTMA 1994.

What d'you reckon?

FOARP said...

But as for how it got through - blimey if I know.

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