Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More trade mark registration that is fish?

Could US dating website Plentyoffish stop UK “Plenty More trade mark registration that is fish?

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 plus in 2007 filed to join up a seafood logo design plus the terms PLENTY MORE FISH as A british trade mark. The usa site compared, but achieved it have grounds? Miah Ramanathan states the verdict.

Topic: Companies

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

exactly What took place:

An endeavor with a us based dating internet site to have the enrollment of an equivalent brand name by a british company declared invalid on grounds of passing down unsuccessful during the tall Court since the United States site didn’t have customers in britain.


The defendant started an on-line dating agency in 2006 and registered a figurative trade mark including the words “PLENTYMOREFISH” for agency dating services in course 45 in October 2007 (the “Trade Mark”). In October 2008, the claimant, whom since 2001 had additionally operated an on-line agency that is dating overseas underneath the title PLENTYOFFISH, submitted a credit card applicatoin towards the British Intellectual Property workplace for a statement of invalidity according associated with the Trade Mark under section 5(4)(a) associated with the Trade Mark Act 1994 (the “TMA”).

The application form was regarding the foundation that the Trade Mark constituted an infringement regarding the claimant’s typical legislation legal rights in moving down. Part 5(4)(a) of this TMA provides that a trade mark shall never be registered if its use within great britain would otherwise be avoided under any guideline of legislation (in particular what the law states of moving off) protecting an unregistered trade mark or indication from getting used for the duration of trade.

The Registrar dismissed the claimant’s application in February 2011 in the foundation that there have been no grounds when it comes to declaration of invalidity desired considering that the claimant had did not offer proof that it had supplied online dating services to clients in the united kingdom therefore created goodwill in britain as at April 2007 (the date associated with the defendant’s application when it comes to Trade Mark). The claimant appealed into the tall Court which had to deal with whether any rights were had by the claimant in moving off in the UK. In specific, the tall Court needed to think about what constitutes goodwill if the investor is just a international web-based business.

The tort of passing down

“a guy is certainly not to market their goods that are own the pretence that they’re 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 usually have created inside their company and their trade mark from unjust competition in the shape of usage by a 3rd party of an indication which may have the end result of “passing off” the party that is third products or solutions as those for the investor.

So that you can bring an action that is successful passing down, a claimant must match the “traditional trinity” test founded by Lord Oliver within the Jif Lemon instance (Reckitt & Colman items Ltd v Borden Inc 1990 RPC 341):

1. There must be evidence of reputation or goodwill in the united kingdom attached with the products or solutions;

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

3. the claimant must show that the defendant’s misrepresentation would end in real harm, or a possibility of harm, to your goodwill when you look at the claimant’s company..

Judgment of this Tall Court

Birss Hon QC upheld your decision associated with the Registrar. Regardless of the known proven fact that British nationals had visited the claimant’s PLENTYOFFISH web 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 failed to offer online dating services to British customers together with maybe maybe not produced any goodwill in the united kingdom. The failure to ascertain the existence of goodwill with its online dating services in great britain implied 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 also argued that the united kingdom people to its PLENTYOFFISH web site should always be construed as the clients. The claimant’s enterprize model operated by giving its online dating services totally free via account of this site and attained income through the purchase of marketing room on the internet site to 3rd events. Consequently, the claimant recommended that its British site site visitors produced income when it comes to company by simply virtue of these stop by at the internet site.

Having heard these arguments, Birss Hon QC decided that for a part for the public to be a client for the claimant’s business it should have obtained and utilized services that are dating the claimant. Because the claimant had didn’t offer proof it had supplied online dating services to British customers, this argument failed. The provision 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 things:

Birss Hon QC’s decision used 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 among the list of public that is general the united kingdom for many services and products”.

The end result for this situation adds fat into the human body of current situation legislation which takes an international web-based company to show the existence of UK based clients whom get and make use of its solutions to be able to bring a fruitful claim for moving off.

The judgment additionally helpfully clarifies the idea that an associate of this public whom gets and makes use of services of a web-based company will be considered become an individual of these company, irrespective or no matter whether the services are given for the cost or totally free.

Moving forward, international web-based organizations should be aware that website hits from British based site site site visitors will never be evidence of British clients. Current instance law supports the scene that the courts don’t accept that a company with customers in the united kingdom may exist without goodwill. But, for the international business to produce goodwill in britain through the use of a title, mark or indication, it should offer solutions in respect of the title, mark or indication to clients in britain.