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Court of Appeal upholds the cancellation of Mattel’s Scrabble tile registration

7 October 2013

The Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision to cancel Mattel’s UK registration for a Scrabble tile.

No examples of how the Scrabble tile might ultimately look were given in the registration. Zynga, who applied for cancellation suggested several options that show the large number of permutations that the registration could cover. These include 3M, F1 and O2. Some would clearly contravene other third party rights or be non-distinctive.

The Court of Appeal agreed that it was not one single sign and that it was not identified clearly, precisely and objectively enough. They also rejected the argument that the mark as depicted is distinctive as a result of extensive use.

This case shows applicants should take great care in their description of the mark when filing their application and make sure that it is not capable of different interpretations.

Please also see our commentary on the joined case of Nestle v Cadbury in which Cadbury’s application has also been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

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