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Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual Property Law (6th edn)

Lionel Bently, Brad Sherman, Dev Gangjee, and Phillip Johnson
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date: 09 December 2023

p. 103938. Relative Grounds for Refusallocked

p. 103938. Relative Grounds for Refusallocked

  • L. Bently,
  • B. Sherman,
  • D. Gangjee
  •  and P. Johnson


This chapter focuses on ‘relative grounds’ for denying an application to register a trade mark as set out in section 5 of the Trade Marks Act 1994. It identifies ‘earlier trade marks’ and ‘earlier rights’ before turning to the tests which allow a prior mark to oppose the registration of a subsequent one. First, it reviews the so-called double identity ground, where an identical (later) mark is applied for, in the context of identical products. Second, it considers when likelihood of confusion may be established. Third, it surveys three situations referred to collectively as ‘dilution’, where the later mark may mentally evoke the earlier one in a way that is not confusing, yet still wrongful. It also explains the ‘advertising function’ of a trade mark, along with requirements relating to reputation and ‘due cause’. Finally, the chapter discusses relevant provisions governing unregistered trade marks, copyright, and the various design rights.

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