This month saw the Court of Session in Edinburgh issue its judgment on the appeal brought by CCHG Limited, in the case of CCHG Limited t/a Vapourized v Vapouriz Limited. Both businesses supply e-cigarette products.
In addition to the importance of the outcome for both sides, the case had the wider significance of being the first appeal hearing to be heard by a Scottish court of a decision by the UK Intellectual Property Office’s Hearing Officer (‘HO’), under section 76 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (Appeals from the registrar).
In this case, CCHG, who trade as Vapourized, had sought to appeal the earlier decision by the HO to have the CCHG mark declared invalid, following an application by Vapouriz Limited. CCHG’s mark, the stylised words “VAPORISE INHALE THE FREEDOM” (https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmcase/page/Results/1/UK00003085823), was declared invalid by the HO on the grounds that it was similar to that of a rival brand with a previously registered trade mark (Vapouriz having previously registered an earlier mark for the same products https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmcase/page/Results/1/UK00002605137). The HO had deemed the CCHG mark to be similar to the earlier mark, for identical goods, and therefore gave rise to the likelihood of confusion.
In deciding on the appeal, Lady Wolffe, sided with the HO’s decision, indicating that she found no error in the HO’s assessment of the likelihood of confusion, nor was he ‘plainly wrong’ in the conclusion he reached.
CCHG will have the option of appealing the decision to the Inner House.
For the full judgment: