Stranded trademarks

Just a quick overview of the past 2 months. Against the T brands listed below, Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-mobile, successfully filed an opposition. Therefore, none of these marks got a European registration. The T is the problem.

T-mobile gestrande merken

Head down

And for the logos shown below there are also clouds on the horizon. These trademarks were recently attacked by Deutsche Telekom and a decision is now awaited. Bet they all go under. According to the European trademark office the “T” of T-Mobile deserves extensive protection due to its well-known reputation.

T-mobile kopje onder

Other products and services

Still, strangely enough, the T-brands that T-Mobile manages to easily wipe out are largely not applied for products that compete with T-Mobile’s telecom activities. They are often trademarks that will be used for different goods or services, such as energy distribution, organization of sporting events or even clothing, to name but a few. Still, according to EUIPO, these T marks cannot be registered because the public might somehow link them to T-mobile’s famous T.

Well-known trademarks

Now, of course, the law gives wide protection to holders of well-known trademarks: sometimes a well known brand can successfully oppose the registration of a trademark that is used in a different industry. E.g. if you market sweets under the Nike trademark then, of course, you are simply taking advantage of the Nike brand’s reputation and that is not allowed.

Generous protection for the single letter T?

But should this extensive protection for well-known brands also be applied so generously when it is not about Nike but about a single letter T, even if it is well-known in the telecom industry? In my opinion, in the case of such a ‘single-letter’ trademark, it can be a little less.

Bas Kist