UK trade mark disputes climb as firms fight to protect brands

 
Oliver Smith
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UK COURTS have become a key battleground in the increasing number of trade mark disputes happening around the world, according to a report from law firm RPC.

High Court cases involving trade marks climbed from 88 to 114 in the last year. The leap has been linked to the rise of e-commerce and the desire of businesses to protect their intellectual property even in markets they do not have sales in.

“The danger is that if businesses don’t enforce their brand they will lose the right to use it locally, putting at risk any future expansion into new markets and creating brand confusion online,” said RPC’s intellectual property and technology partner David Cran.

Recent trade mark disputes in the UK include US Farmville maker Zynga, which was taken to court by the US owners of the board game Scrabble over the name Scramble – Zynga’s word game for mobile devices.

And Austrian drinks company Red Bull took British company Sun Mark to court to prevent it from calling a drink Bullet with the slogan, “no bull in this can”.