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Easynet Group plc v Easygroup IP Licensing Ltd

When considering whether a trade mark, composed of two descriptive elements, fell foul of s 3(1)(c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994, it was necessary to consider the mark overall to ascertain whether it was descriptive and whether as a whole it added something more than its parts. Such an overall assessment was not qualified by concepts such as unusualness.

15 September 2006

The appellant company (C) appealed against the decision of a hearing officer dismissing its grounds of opposition to the application by the respondent company (E) to register EASY.COM, in lower case, as a trade mark. E had applied to register EASY.COM as a trade mark for a wide range of goods and services. C filed a notice of opposition claiming that the mark should not be registered, as it fell under the provisions of ss 3(1)(b) and 3(1)(c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 as being devoid of any distinctive character and consisting exclusively of signs or indications that might serve to designate the kind, quality, intended purpose, value or other characteristics of the goods and services. The hearing officer dismissed both grounds of opposition and held that the mark was neither descriptive nor non-distinctive.

C argued that the hearing officer had erred as he should have adopted a structured approach and assessed the individual elements of the mark and, if they were descriptive...

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