Now you see it, now you don’t

7th June 2021

A look at trademarks and the question of infringement

We were recently instructed to act for a client which sells glasses online using a name based upon a childhood slang term for someone who wears spectacles.  The business has been using that name for almost 20 years and has the name trademarked.  It had discovered that a new entrant into the online glasses market was using a very similar term to the trademarked name used by our client; the difference in names was a single letter, but yet when spoken out loud they sounded exactly the same.

Our litigation team was instructed on Wednesday morning and having investigated the issue and collated evidence, a letter was sent to the competitor late on the Thursday afternoon.  The letter could not assert a trademark infringement because the mark being used by the competitor was not identical to that of the client’s mark, but it was possible to use the fact that the name was trademarked to demonstrate that the client’s name was well known in the market and that was bolstered by very significant spending on marketing and advertising.  The letter asserted that the competitor was seeking to pass off their website as being associated with or connected to that of the client and was piggybacking on its goodwill and reputation in the market.  Less than 24 hours later, we heard from the competitor that the use of the similar looking and identically sounding name had been stopped.

If you have issues in relation to trademark infringement or passing off, we’re here to help – get in touch.

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