Tesco continues fight to trademark blue dashes under its logo

Tesco made an appeal to the Intellectual Property Office this week, asking the body to overturn its decision not to allow it to register the dashes under the retailer's logo as a trademark.

Tesco: continues fight to trademark the dashes under its logo
Tesco: continues fight to trademark the dashes under its logo

The supermarket chain, which had the application rejected in August, held a hearing with the IPO on Monday where it sought to prove that the hearing officer was wrong in the decision not to register the dashes as a Tesco trademark.

The IPO had rejected the claim on the grounds that the shape was "too simple" and that while people would associate the dashes with Tesco, the dashes relied on the word Tesco being shown alongside it.

At the time, Tesco had conducted a survey showing that consumers associated the dashes with the retailer independently from the word ‘Tesco’, but the IPO deemed that the dashes could not be registered as a trademark separately. Tesco already holds a trademark for the logo in its entirety.

A Tesco spokesperson told Marketing at the time it would continue to pursue the trademark, saying it was at "a preliminary stage", but the retailer declined to comment on the hearing.

Speaking to Marketing, Katie Goulding, a trademark attorney at HGF said trademarks were valuable asserts and a "powerful weapon against third party infringements and deterrent to others not to stray too close" and that retailers such as Tesco would seek to register aspects of their branding to protect against "copycat packaging".

However, she added that in this instance, it was unlikely the appeal would be upheld.

Goulding said: "Tesco will only succeed if the appointed person considers there has been a material error of principle or that the hearing officer was clearly wrong [and] it is hard to see how the appeal could be upheld."

She added that while the decision would be final, "all is not lost for Tesco if the appeal is unsuccessful"’.

The retailer could still rely on unregistered rights against infringers, although a claim in this instance could be "more burdensome and costly claim to substantiate". It could also start the whole process again, submitting larger volumes of evidence, though this could be costly and time consuming.

Earlier this month, Tesco also appealed to the IPO over its decision not to allow it to register the word "Clubcard" as a trademark. A decision on both cases is expected over the coming months.