Brand in UK Law
Maier v ASOS Plc
As I stated in paragraph 92 of the Main Judgment, the reason people buy Assos casual clothes is to associate themselves with the mark's reputation as a prestige brand of professional cycling wear. In my judgment there is unlikely to be any material confusion between the two marks even if ASOS started to apply its trade mark to t-shirts in a very different and more prominent way from the way it currently does.
Roger Maier and Another v Asos Plc and Another
In addition to its websites, ASOS has a strong internet presence on social media sites. As at 17 December 2012, ASOS' Facebook page had 2.2 million 'likes' or followers, making it the third-ranked retailer in the UK behind TopShop and Amazon. It also has 1.4 million followers through Google+; 430,000 followers on Twitter (second only to TopShop); 383,721 Instagram followers and 20 Pinterest boards.
So far as the ASOS website service is concerned, is this similar to the goods covered by the Assos mark? Given the prevalence of internet clothes shopping, it is likely that an internet shopping site bearing the name of a brand of clothing will be regarded as similar to that brand of clothing for the purposes of Article 9(1)(b). However, Assos, as I have described, does not market its goods strongly online although its retailers do sell the goods from their own websites.
Most of the goods to which Assos is likely to attach its mark are expensive and are directed at people who care about appearing stylish and athletic. Although Assos could, of course, attach its mark to mass market, cheap t-shirts, there is no suggestion that it intends to expand beyond the premium clothing sector and the few cheaper items that it currently sells.
There is no evidence of confusion or of people discussing the two brand names in such magazines. These days consumers are not reticent about expressing their views on blogs and in chat rooms. A few examples of these have been presented as evidence but there is no reason to suppose that the instances seen are the tip of an unidentified iceberg.
As to this last point, I do not consider that the fact that someone looks for Assos products on the ASOS website necessarily means that they think that ASOS and Assos are the same brand or that they are mistaken about whose website they are on. It may indicate simply that they think that Assos may be one of the many brands of clothing that are sold on the ASOS website, along with Fred Perry, Lacoste or Nike.
Specsavers International Healthcare Ltd and Others (Appellants/ Claimants) v Asda Stores Ltd (Respondent /Defendant)
In my judgment the general position is now clear. In assessing the likelihood of confusion arising from the use of a sign the court must consider the matter from the perspective of the average consumer of the goods or services in question and must take into account all the circumstances of that use that are likely to operate in that average consumer's mind in considering the sign and the impression it is likely to make on him. The sign is not to be considered stripped of its context.
- Brand's Estate Act 1806
- Annuity (Sir H. Brand), 1884
- REGULATIONS Dated AUGUST 20, 1919, Made by the BOARD OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES UNDER THE HERRING FISHERY (BRANDING) ACT, 1913 (3 & 4 GEO. 5. C. 9), AS TO THE CONSTRUCTION, CAPACITY, AND CONDITION OF BARRELS AND HALF-BARRELS, AND THE QUALITY, CURING, SELECTION AND PACKING OF WHITE HERRINGS, INTENDED TO BE PRESENTED FOR THE OFFICIAL BRAND OR MARK (HEREINAFTER CALLED "THE BRAND"): AND THE INSPECTION, EXAMINATION, MARKING AND BRANDING OF BARRELS.
- REGULATIONS, Dated February 25, 1938, Made by the FISHERY BOARD FOR SCOTLAND AS TO THE CONSTRUCTION AND CAPACITY OF BARRELS AND HALF-BARRELS FILLED OR INTENDED TO BE FILLED WITH CURED WHITE HERRINGS; AND QUALITY, CURE, PACKING, &c., OF WHITE HERRINGS INTENDED FOR THE OFFICIAL CROWN BRAND.
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