There's been plenty of debate about cannabis in the news this week, but one thing's for sure, the UKIPO's decision in Adidas' invalidity challenge of Addicted Original's trade mark shows the UKIPO's desire to safeguard public policy.
After a successful challenge by Adidas, Addiction Original this week lost its parody marijuana leaf trade mark of Adidas' famous trefoil logo.
Both marks were registered for use on apparel including "clothing for sports". Addiction Original's trade mark was registered in August 2017 and Adidas filed a request for invalidation in September 2018.
Despite the UKIPO disagreeing with Adidas' submission that there was a likelihood of confusion between the two marks, it accepted that it was likely seeing Addicted Original's mark would trigger people to recall Adidas' mark and there was therefore a "mental link" between the two. The UKIPO also concluded that as a result of that link, Addiction Original gained an unfair advantage and commercial leg-up.
Perhaps most interestingly, and as shown by the quote below, the UKIPO decided to invalidate the mark independently of any similarity to Adidas' mark on the basis that it undermined social values (by referencing drug addiction) and was therefore contrary to public policy and / or accepted principles of morality.
I consider that there will be an identifiable significant section of the public who will recognise the proprietor’s mark as including a representation of a marijuana leaf. For those consumers, the proprietor’s mark will convey a clear message relating to addiction to illegal drugs. The registration of the proprietor’s mark, therefore, undermines principles of accepted social values.