March 2018. British Airways has lost a considerable portion of the protection it enjoyed for its Concorde trademark. In a case brought before the UK Intellectual Property Office, the mysterious Michael Gleissner has managed to get BA’s trademark registration cancelled for a large number of products.

Trademark registration

Although BA’s supersonic passenger plane was taken out of service in 2003 after a series of accidents, the airline retains ownership of the word Concorde for a wide range of products, from wristwatches to magazines and from clothing to toys.

Not used

BA’s registration was recently attacked by the notorious Michael Gleissner, a German entrepreneur who’s registered thousands of trademarks in recent years. Gleissner argued that BA hadn’t used the Concorde trademark for the products it had registered it for in the last 5 years. If a trademark remains unused for this period of time, the owner’s rights can be cancelled.

Ashtrays and air transport

In the end, BA was only able to demonstrate use for a limited number of products, including pens, toy airplanes, clothing and cufflinks, for which it had issued licences to third parties. But it was unable to demonstrate use for many other products (magazines, bags, tableware, ashtrays and air transport), and consequently lost its registration to them. So the way is now clear for Mr Gleissner to launch a Concorde magazine or ashtray.

Bas Kist