The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has announced a consultation process on the introduction of a superfast patent examination procedure. The proposals are to provide for a system of rapid patent examination and grant within 90 days of filing an application. More information about the consultation process, which is due to complete in June 2013, can be found http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-policy/consult/consult-live/consult-2013-superfast.htm
The UKIPO already provides for accelerated examination procedures but the Government believes that further expedited procedures would be helpful. However, initial opinion seems to be that the superfast patent examination procedure will not be beneficial to some applicants due to the risks related to publication of the patent application during the priority year, and the proposed additional official fee of £3,500-4,000. However, in view of the Patent Box legislation, companies looking for tax advantages in a UK only situation may take advantage, in spite of the cost.
If you have any comments that you would like us to make to the UKIPO, please contact your usual advisor at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord LLP
Levi Strauss took legal action in Germany against a Swiss firm, Colloseum Holdings, for breaching its trademark rights by selling jeans with a similar rectangular red cloth bearing its own brand name stitched into the right seam of the back pocket. Levi Strauss argued that, through years of use, the red cloth "flag" would be recognised by consumers as a sign of "red tab" jeans made by Levi Strauss - even without the Levi's brand logo which is printed on it.
Levi Strauss currently owns as EU trademarks the red tab itself in a certain position on jeans pockets, as well as the "composite" mark of the same red tab carrying the word Levi's. But the company has not used the red tab on its own, and Colloseum denied any risk of its own red label causing confusion because its company name was included.
Colloseum also argued that Levi Strauss should lose the trade mark rights to the red tab alone as it had never used it, contravening EU "genuine use" requirements for brands which can mean loss of a trademark which is not used for at least five years.
The case shows that it is important for brand owners to protect all distinctive trademark elements of the brand
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg decreed that the red tab could be seen as an integral part of the Levi's brand, even though the company had not used the red tab separately.
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