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 seafood logo design together with 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 claimant and lots More LLP, the defendant.

exactly What took place:

An effort with a us based dating internet site to have the registration of an identical brand name by way of A british company declared invalid on grounds of passing down failed during the tall Court considering that the United States web site didn’t have clients in britain.


The defendant started an on-line agency that is dating 2006 and registered a figurative trade mark including 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 online dating agency based offshore underneath the title PLENTYOFFISH, presented a credit card applicatoin to the British Intellectual Property workplace for the statement of invalidity according regarding the Trade Mark under section 5(4)(a) associated with the Trade Mark Act 1994 (the « TMA »).

The program had been from the foundation that the Trade Mark constituted an infringement of this claimant’s typical legislation liberties in passing down. Section 5(4)(a) of this TMA provides that a trade mark shall never be registered if its use within the united kingdom would otherwise be avoided under any guideline of legislation (in specific regulations of moving off) protecting an unregistered trade mark or indication from getting used in the length of trade.

The Registrar dismissed the claimant’s application in February 2011 regarding the foundation that there have been no grounds when it comes to statement of invalidity desired because the claimant had didn’t provide proof so it had supplied services that are dating customers in britain and for that reason produced goodwill in the united kingdom as at April 2007 (the date of this defendant’s application for the Trade Mark). The claimant appealed towards the High Court which had to deal with whether the claimant had any liberties in moving down in the united kingdom. In specific, the tall Court needed to think about what comprises goodwill as soon as the trader is an international web-based company.

The tort of passing down

« a person is certainly not to market their very own products under the pretence they are the products of another man » (Perry v Truefitt (1842) 6 Beav. 66 at 73).

The tort of passing off enables a trader to guard the goodwill they will have created inside their company and their trade mark from unjust competition by means of usage by an authorized of an indicator which will have the end result of « passing off » the 3rd party’s products or solutions as those for the investor.

So that you can bring an action that is successful moving down, a claimant must fulfill the « classical trinity » test founded by Lord Oliver into the Jif Lemon case (Reckitt & Colman items Ltd v Borden Inc 1990 RPC 341):

1. there should be proof goodwill or reputation in britain attached with the goods or services;

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

3. the claimant must prove that the defendant’s misrepresentation would end up in actual harm, or a odds of harm, to the goodwill into the claimant’s company..

Judgment for the Tall Court

Birss Hon QC upheld your choice regarding the Registrar. Aside from the proven fact that British nationals had checked out the claimant’s PLENTYOFFISH site plus 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 provide dating services to British clients together with maybe perhaps maybe not created any goodwill in britain. The failure to determine the presence of goodwill with its dating services in the united kingdom designed that the claimant hadn’t satisfied the « traditional trinity » ensure that you consequently the defendant’s utilization of the Trade Mark would not represent passing down.

The claimant had also argued that great britain people to its PLENTYOFFISH web site should really be construed as the customers. The claimant’s business design operated by giving its online dating services totally free via account associated with web site and attained income through the purchase of marketing area on the internet site to parties that are third. Consequently, the claimant advised that its British site visitors created income when it comes to continuing company by just virtue of the stop by at the web site.

Having paid attention to these arguments, Birss Hon QC decided that for a part of this public to be a person associated with the claimant’s company it should have obtained and utilized online dating services from the claimant. This argument failed as the claimant had failed to provide evidence that it had provided dating services to UK customers. The supply of marketing solutions on or before April 2007 to parties that are third unimportant into the claimant’s application to invalidate the defendant’s Trade Mark.

Why this issues:

Birss Hon QC’s choice used the judgment of Lloyd LJ in resort Cipriani v Cipriani (Grosvenor Street) Ltd 2010 RPC 16 which figured « an undertaking which seeks to determine goodwill in terms of a mark for products or services cannot do this, but great could be the trustworthiness of their mark into the UK, unless it offers clients on the list of average man or woman in great britain for anyone items ».

The results of this instance adds fat towards the human anatomy of current situation legislation which calls for an international business that is web-based show the existence of UK based clients whom get and make use of its services to be able to bring an effective claim for moving down.

The judgment also helpfully clarifies the idea that a part regarding the public feeld whom gets and makes use of solutions of a business that is web-based be considered become an individual of these company, irrespective or no matter whether the solutions are given for a charge or totally free.

Moving forward, international web-based organizations should be aware that website hits from UK based site site visitors won’t be evidence of British clients. Current case legislation supports the view that the courts usually do not accept that the continuing company with clients in the united kingdom may exist without goodwill. Nonetheless, for a international company to produce goodwill in the united kingdom through the use of a title, mark or indication, it must offer solutions in respect of the title, mark or sign to clients in britain.