All’s fair in love, war and referenda
Earlier this month, in the days leading up to the Brexit vote, the trade marks of a number of global manufacturers appeared in a leaflet advocating for Britain to leave the EU. The leaflet stated that “major employers like Toyota, Nissan, Vauxhall, Honda, Unilever, GE and Airbus have all said they’ll stay in the UK whatever the result of the [Brexit] referendum”.
Unlawful use of Company logos
The heads of Unilever, Airbus and GE accused the Vote Leave group of using their names and brands in bad faith to imply their support for the UK to exit the European Union. Nissan went one step further and threatened to seek an injunction in the High Court after it said that the Vote Leave group had ignored repeated requests that the company’s logo not be used. Nissan also said that it vigorously defends the Nissan brand and intellectual property rights in all markets where it operates.
Now that the referendum is over and the majority of voters in the UK have voted for Britain to leave the EU, it remains to be seen whether Nissan or any of the other manufacturers will actually pursue legal proceedings against the Vote Leave group (the manufacturers may struggle to prove damage/loss attributable to the alleged infringement of their trade mark and an injunction may be a toothless tiger at this stage since the leaflets are no longer in circulation). However, there are a couple of points to be taken away from this saga:
Briffa advises its clients on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious intellectual property law. If you have concerns about third-party use of your IP or your use of third-party IP, please get in touch and we will be happy to assist.
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