TRADEMARK
Record Labels, Artists

The New York Mets baseball team have been allowed to register their “Mets” mark in the United Kingdom in classes which include use for clothing, hats, toys, stationery and magazines. The decision by the UK Registrar for Trademarks was a blow to the Ministry of Defence who opposed the application saying that there was a likelihood of confusion with its own mark for the “Met Office” which is a registered mark for the Meteorological Office. The Trade Mark Act 1994defines a trade mark as any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of another undertaking. The Registrar held that there would be no confusion in the British public between the baseball team’s mark and the national weather forecasting service’s mark.

This is the second case the Ministry of Defence have lost in as many months. The MOD applied to register the Royal Air Force’s red, white and blue ‘target’ or roundel as a trade mark. A number of fashion companies successfully opposed the registration saying that the roundel entered the public domain in the 1960s when the ‘mods’ started using the same red, white and blue roundel as a symbol. The owner of the Lambretta clothing company pointed out that the target device had been used since and is closely associated with the style of dress worn by mods, with the band The Who and with the film Quadrophenia. The RAF still use the roundel on their military aircraft.
See Law Updates, December 2003