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App icons and anti-social, non-distancing in trade mark law (PlanetArt LLC v Photobox Ltd)

App icons and anti-social, non-distancing in trade mark law (PlanetArt LLC v Photobox Ltd)
Published on: 07 April 2020
Published by: LexisPSL
  • App icons and anti-social, non-distancing in trade mark law (PlanetArt LLC v Photobox Ltd)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
  • Case details

Article summary

IP analysis: This recent decision considers a number of important issues in trade mark infringement and passing off actions. These include the ‘context’ relating to apps and use of them, the absence of any actual evidence of confusion, and more importantly, the use of descriptive words or elements in trade marks. In a carefully worded judgment, Daniel Alexander QC reviews case law developments under sections 10(2) and (3) Trade Marks Act 1994 (TMA 1994), and in the law of passing off, specific lessons to be drawn from the classic cases of Reddaway v Banham and the Jif Lemon decisions with regard to descriptive marks. It is, however, the judge’s ‘judicial banging of heads’ at the end, which is perhaps the most striking thing about this judgment. His veiled threats to both sides as to what will happen in the future and how he might wield his powers if they could not reach agreement on the consequences resulting from his decision reveals a refreshingly welcome new judicial approach. Written by Paul A Harris, senior partner (IP Litigation), at Venner Shipley LLP. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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