Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Trademarks Post for the Week

British but some concept cross over the Atlantic and it is a well written article that provokes some thoughts. So take a look at Pitcher's, Pimms, Passing Off
Archbishop Passing Off is already robing up behind the drinks counter to enter the unholy fray with his ‘holy trinty’ of Reputation, Confusion and Damage but who will survive the refining fire of this test?

Is Sainsbury’s passing off its product as that of Diageo? Is there a trade mark infringement?

Surely, no problem with Reputation. Pimm’s has established itself globally as an iconic brand, synonymous with Wimbledon, Henley, May Balls, picnics (see Twitter #VTPP) and all that is sacred about the British Summer.

And, surely, no issue with Damage. One can almost see the out-stretched hand of the thirsty British consumer waivering and submitting momentarily to curiousity and the lower price tag of the Sainsbury’s ‘equivalent’ with huge consequential loss for Diageo.

So the legal armies must face each other on the uncertain legal battle-field of Confusion. But is there really any Confusion? The name is similar and theSainsbury’s product clearly echoes (deafeningly!) the Pimm’s brand ..but we are not talking puffins and penguins here. The product is pretty obviously not the original although it is clearly trading off its reputation.