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In the Matter of Trade Mark Applications by Adelphoi Ltd (BATSMAN) [2012] 0-504-12

Case Summary  |  Judgment  |   6 March 2013


John Baldwin QC recently acted for DC Comics before the Intellectual Property Office in its successful opposition to an application to register the sign BATSMAN as a trade mark. The opposition was based on DC Comics’ prior Community trade mark registration for BATMAN in relation to (inter alia) “a wide variety of merchandise”. The Applicant, Adelphoi Ltd, had sought registration for various goods and services “related to the sport of cricket”.
The Hearing Officer upheld the objection and refused registration of BATSMAN in any class. Several of the relevant goods and services were identical and within DC’s earlier registration, which encompassed goods relating to cricket. The marks were highly similar in visual and aural terms, even though they were conceptually different: BATMAN is the name of a well-known comic book character, while BATSMAN is a type of cricketer or an aircraft safety officer. Despite this, given the closeness of the marks, the identity of the goods/services, and the no more than average degree of care and attention used by the average consumer when selecting them, there was a likelihood of confusion was established.

The matter was also the subject of an article in The Daily Mail