Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has been partially successful in its attempt to register a trade mark for the shape of the Range Rover Evoque motor vehicle.
Back in November 2012, JLR filed an application for a three dimensional Community Trade Mark for sketches of the Ranger Rover Evoque. The sketches can be found here. JLR sought to register the trade mark in class 12 (vehicles), class 14 (precious metals) and class 28 (games and playthings) but the application was rejected in class 12 and class 28 on the basis that the mark was devoid of distinctive character.
JLR appealed this decision and sought to rely on numerous reviews of the Evoque which talked about the design of the vehicle in glowing terms, coupled with the fact that the vehicle won an award for Car Design of the Year. However, the General Court felt that these reviews related to the ready-made vehicle and not the sketches that formed the subject of the trade mark application, and so were not relevant to the distinctiveness question. This highlights an important point that when filing an application for a three dimensional trade mark it is sensible to consider filing photographs of the product as well as technical drawings.
The General Court held on appeal that in relation to the core goods (land vehicles in class 12) the trade mark did not depart sufficiently from the norm to be distinctive. The appeal was allowed in respect of vehicles for air or water in class 12 as the mark was considered to be sufficiently distinctive in respect of those goods, though these were not the primary aim of JLR.
The end result is that JLR does not have any legal rights over the mark in relation to land vehicles, which was its primary aim, unless it is able to show at some point in the future that the mark has acquired distinctiveness. One consolation for JLR is that this demonstrates to competitors and potential infringers that it intends to enforce its rights.
If this story has raised any issues for you please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel and Co. on 0191 281 4000 or by email to email@example.com: News, Trade Marks