May 19, 2021

Do we have a cat fight between Nike and Puma; or is it just one sided?

On Monday 17 May 2021, apparel giants Nike and Puma appeared before the High Court in an appeal hearing relating to Nike’s pursuit of registering “footware” as a UK trade mark which it filed at the UKIPO in March 2019.

Puma then filed an opposition at the UKIPO on the grounds that the mark “footware” is an ordinary descriptive term for the goods and services which the mark would be registered against. In addition, Puma also argued that the term “ware” was now customary in the relevant trade of the parties involved.

In November 2020, the Hearing Officer held in favour of Nike, dismissing Puma’s opposition. Puma then appealed the decision of the Hearing Officer. In its appeal hearing on Monday, Puma stuck to its paws and claimed that Nike’s use of the mark “footware” is merely descriptive and cannot be registered. Puma also claim that the simple trick of misspelling the term “footwear” as “footware” is no more than a strategic attempt to bypass the non-distinctive element of the mark and prevent other parties from using it.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

Posted by: Tom Staveley in: Trade Marks

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