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

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 fish logo design as well as the terms PLENTY MORE FISH as A british trade mark. The united states site compared, but made it happen have grounds? Miah Ramanathan states the verdict.

Topic: Companies

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

exactly just What occurred:

An effort by way of A united states based website that is dating have the enrollment of an identical brand name by A british company declared invalid on grounds of passing down unsuccessful during the tall Court as the United States web site would not have customers in the united kingdom.


The defendant started an internet dating agency in 2006 and registered a figurative trade mark integrating 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 internet dating agency based offshore underneath the title PLENTYOFFISH, presented a credit card applicatoin to your British Intellectual Property workplace for a statement of invalidity according of this Trade Mark under section 5(4)(a) of this Trade Mark Act 1994 (the „TMA“).

The application form ended up being in the foundation that the Trade Mark constituted an infringement associated with the claimant’s typical law liberties in passing off. Part 5(4)(a) of the TMA provides that a trade mark shall never be registered if its used in the united kingdom 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 span of trade.

The Registrar dismissed the claimant’s application in February 2011 regarding the foundation that there have been no grounds for the statement of invalidity desired considering that the claimant had neglected to offer proof so it had supplied online dating services to customers in britain and for that reason produced goodwill in britain as at April 2007 (the date of this defendant’s application for the Trade Mark). The claimant appealed towards the tall Court which had to address whether any rights were had by the claimant in moving down in the united kingdom. In specific, the tall Court had to think about what comprises goodwill if the investor is really a international web-based company.

The tort of passing down

„a guy isn’t to offer his goods that are own the pretence they are the products of another man“ (Perry v Truefitt (1842) 6 Beav. 66 at 73).

The tort of passing down enables a trader to guard the goodwill they will have produced inside their company and their trade mark from unjust competition by means of usage by an authorized of an indicator which will have the result of „passing off“ the party that is third products or solutions as those for the investor.

To be able to bring a successful action for moving down, a claimant must fulfill the „traditional trinity“ test established by Lord Oliver when you look at 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 services;

2. the claimant must show that through the span of the defendant’s trade, the defendant misrepresented, whether or perhaps not deliberately, towards the public that his items or solutions are the ones regarding the claimant; and

3. the claimant must show that the defendant’s misrepresentation would lead to real harm, or an odds of harm, towards the goodwill within the claimant’s company..

Judgment regarding the Tall Court

Birss Hon QC upheld your decision of this Registrar. Aside from the proven fact that UK nationals had checked out the claimant’s PLENTYOFFISH site and also the standing of that web site when you look at the UK, the claimant merely didn’t have UK based clients. consequently, it would not offer services that are dating UK clients together with maybe perhaps not produced any goodwill in britain. The failure to determine the presence of goodwill with its online dating services in great britain designed that the claimant hadn’t pleased the „traditional trinity“ ensure that you consequently the defendant’s utilization of the Trade Mark failed to represent passing down.

The claimant had additionally argued that the united kingdom people to its PLENTYOFFISH web site ought to be construed as the clients. The claimant’s business structure operated by giving its online dating services totally free via account associated with the internet site and attained income through the purchase of marketing area on the internet site to 3rd events. Consequently, the claimant proposed that its British site site visitors created income when it comes to company by just virtue of the 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 associated with the claimant’s company it should have obtained and utilized services that are dating the claimant. Since the claimant had didn’t offer proof so it had provided online dating services to British clients, this argument failed. The supply of advertising solutions on or before April 2007 to 3rd events had been irrelevant into 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 pertaining to a mark for products or services cannot do this, but great will be the trustworthiness of their mark into the UK, unless it offers clients on the list of average man or woman in the united kingdom for those of you services and products“.

The end result with this situation adds fat to your human anatomy of existing situation law which needs a foreign web-based company to show the existence of UK based clients whom get and employ its solutions to be able to bring an effective claim for moving down.

The judgment additionally helpfully clarifies the idea that a part for the public whom gets and utilizes solutions of the web-based company will be considered to be an individual of these company, irrespective or whether or not the solutions are provided for a cost or totally free.

In the years ahead, international businesses that are web-based be aware that website hits from British based site visitors will never be evidence of British clients. Current instance legislation supports the view that the courts usually do not accept that a company with clients in britain may exist without goodwill. But, for a business that is foreign produce goodwill in britain through the use of a title, mark or sign, it should offer solutions in respect of this title, mark or indication to clients in the united kingdom.



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