Charged up trademark dispute – JUMPSTAR and JUMPSTART battery marks

The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court has ruled in the case of Data Marketing & Secretarial Ltd and Winning Deals Ltd v S & S Enterprises Ltd and Selective Marketplace Ltd [2014] EWHC 1499 (IPEC)  that the first Claimant’s JUMPSTAR trademark was infringed by the use of JUMPSTART to label and sell car battery chargers.

The dispute was sparked when the first Defendant imported JUMPSTART car battery chargers into the UK and marketing them under that name.  However, the first Claimant, who manufactures car battery chargers under the name of JUMPSTAR, was positive that this was trademark infringement and issued proceedings against the first and second Defendants.

The Defendants admitted that they had infringed the trademark.  However, they argued in their defence that the JUMPSTAR trademark had not been validly registered, since the trademark consisted exclusively of signs which served in the trade to designate a characteristic of the goods in respect of which it was registered – i.e. that JUMPSTAR is associated with the word jumpstart which is associated with car battery chargers.  The Defendants also argued that the Claimant had acted in bad faith because another party had been using the JUMPSTAR mark on similar goods before the Claimant had registered the trademark.

The Judge reviewed the evidence and ruled the trademark had been validly registered since an average consumer would not encounter a car battery charger labelled JUMPSTAR and think that it meant jump start.  It was also ruled that the Claimant had not acted in bad faith by registering the mark solely because he knew that other parties were using the same mark in relation to similar goods or services.

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