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IT and IP disputesApril 26, 2012
For advice on Trade Mark litigation and IP and IT Disputes call Carruthers Law.
The Beatles Apple Corp has won a case in the European Court of Justice. A wheelchair company You-Q had used the word Beatle to promote its electric wheel chair. Apple Corp opposed the community trademark application to use the word Beatle.
The court ruled there was a risk of confusion with the pop group despite the group representing youth and contrasting with the reduced mobility of wheelchair customers.
The Judge ruled that calling the wheelchair “Beatle” would give the company an unfair marketing advantage as, although it was a product completely unrelated to music, the brand of The Beatles was so strong and known in all countries across all languages, there would almost certainly be a connection made in consumer’s minds between the band and the wheelchair.
- “Moreover, those marks have a distinctive character so that, when faced with them, the public at large, in particular in the non-English speaking countries of the EU, will immediately think of the eponymous group and their products”.
- “That image transfer would therefore enable You-Q to introduce its own trademark on the market without incurring any of the great risk or costs, in particular advertising costs, connected with launching a newly created mark.”
The Judges said if allowed to use the term Beatle, the company would take unfair advantage of the “repute and the consistent selling power” of The Beatles.
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