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


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

Written Osborne Clarke on 07 Nov 2011

US internet dating internet site launched in 2001. British competitor “Plenty More Fish” set up in 2006 plus in 2007 filed to join up a seafood logo design and also the terms PLENTY MORE FISH as A british trade mark. The united states site compared, but made it happen have grounds? Miah Ramanathan states the verdict.

Topic: Companies

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

Exactly just exactly What took place:

An effort with a united states based dating internet site to have the enrollment of an identical brand name by A british company declared invalid on grounds of passing down unsuccessful in the tall Court considering that the US site failed to have clients in the united kingdom.


The defendant started an on-line dating agency in 2006 and registered a figurative trade mark including the words “PLENTYMOREFISH” for agency online 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 dating agency based offshore underneath the title PLENTYOFFISH, presented a credit card applicatoin to your British Intellectual Property workplace for the statement of invalidity according regarding the Trade Mark under section 5(4)(a) associated with Trade Mark Act 1994 (the “TMA”).

The application had been regarding the foundation that the Trade Mark constituted an infringement associated with claimant’s typical legislation liberties in moving down. Part 5(4)(a) of this TMA provides that the trade mark shall never be registered if its used in great britain would otherwise be prevented under any guideline of legislation (in particular what the law states of moving down) protecting an unregistered trade mark or sign from getting used for the duration of trade.

The Registrar dismissed the claimant’s application in February 2011 regarding the foundation that there have been no grounds for the statement of invalidity desired due to the fact claimant had neglected to offer proof so it had supplied online dating services to clients in the united kingdom therefore created goodwill in the united kingdom as at April 2007 (the date for the defendant’s application for the Trade Mark). The claimant appealed into the tall Court which needed to deal with whether any rights were had by the claimant in moving off in britain. In specific, the tall Court had to considercarefully what comprises goodwill once the investor is really an international web-based company.

The tort of passing down

“a person just isn’t to market their very own items under the pretence they are the items of another man” (Perry v Truefitt (1842) 6 Beav. 66 at 73).

The tort of passing off enables a trader to guard the goodwill they usually have produced within their company and their trade mark from unjust competition in the shape of usage by an authorized of an indication which may have the end result of “passing off” the 3rd party’s products or services as those regarding the investor.

So that you can bring an action that is successful passing down, a claimant must fulfill the “traditional trinity” test founded by Lord Oliver when you look at the Jif Lemon situation (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 throughout the span of the defendant’s trade, the defendant misrepresented, whether or perhaps not deliberately, towards the public that their products or solutions are the ones for the claimant; and

3. the claimant must show that the defendant’s misrepresentation would end up in real damage, or an odds of harm, towards the goodwill into the claimant’s company..

Judgment associated with Tall Court

Birss Hon QC upheld your decision associated with the Registrar. Regardless of the undeniable fact that British nationals had checked out the claimant’s PLENTYOFFISH internet site in addition to standing of that internet site when you look at the UK, the claimant just didn’t have any UK based clients. Consequently, it failed to offer services that are dating British clients together with maybe maybe not created any goodwill in the united kingdom. The failure to determine the presence of goodwill in its online dating services in the united kingdom intended that the claimant hadn’t pleased the “classical trinity” ensure that you consequently the defendant’s utilization of the Trade Mark didn’t represent passing down.

The claimant had additionally argued that great britain people to its PLENTYOFFISH site must be construed as the clients. The claimant’s enterprize model operated by giving its online dating services totally free via account for the site and attained income through the purchase of ad space on the site to parties that are third. Consequently, the claimant recommended that its UK site visitors created income when it comes to company by just virtue of the stop by at the internet site.

Having paid attention to these arguments, Birss Hon QC decided that for an associate for the public to be a person associated with the claimant’s business it must have obtained and utilized online dating services from the claimant. This argument failed as the claimant had failed to provide evidence that it had provided dating services to UK customers. The supply of marketing services on or before April 2007 to 3rd events was unimportant to your claimant’s application to invalidate the defendant’s Trade Mark.

Why this issues:

Birss Hon QC’s choice adopted 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 with regards to a mark for items or services cannot achieve this, nevertheless great will be the trustworthiness of their mark into the UK, unless it offers clients among the list of public in great britain for all items”.

The end result with this instance adds fat into the human anatomy of current case legislation which needs an international web-based company to show the existence of UK based clients whom get and employ its solutions to be able to bring a fruitful claim for moving off.

The judgment additionally helpfully clarifies the idea that a part of this public whom gets and utilizes solutions of a business that is web-based be considered become a person of these company, irrespective or whether or not the solutions are given for a cost or totally free.

Moving forward, international businesses that are web-based be aware that website hits from British based site visitors won’t be evidence of British clients. Current instance legislation supports the view that the courts don’t accept that a company with clients in britain may exist without goodwill. But, for a international company to produce goodwill in the united kingdom by utilizing a title, mark or indication, it should offer solutions in respect of the title, mark or indication to clients in britain.