The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has refused to register a trademark for ‘Trump TV’ after the application was opposed by a company connected to US President Donald Trump.
The IPO announced its decision to refuse the application on Wednesday, July 4.
In October 2016, programming and broadcasting company Trump International applied to register the word mark ‘Trump TV’ for services including telecom services (class 38) and the production of radio and TV shows, as well as other educational and entertainment services (class 41).
In January 2017, DTTM, a US-based company that is responsible for handling a number of Trump’s trademarks, opposed the application based on the applied-for marks’ similarity to its earlier trademarks.
DTTM’s trademarks are the word mark ‘Trump’ (EU 010,289,064) registered in class 41 and the figurative mark (EU 012,629,648) which features a family crest with three lions and the name Trump.
According to the opposition, Trump International’s applied-for trademark would “take unfair advantage” of DTTM’s earlier word mark and have a negative impact on its reputation.
DTTM also said that it has earlier unregistered (passing off) rights to the trademark ‘Trump’, which it claimed has been used in the UK since 2007.
Finally, DTTM argued that Trump International acted on bad faith. DTTM said Trump International’s trademark was applied for before the business was incorporated and that Trump International misled the registrar “as to the ability of the applicant company to hold it”.
In response, Trump International argued that the marks are visually “not similar” because its applied-for trademark consists of two words, while the earlier marks just contain the word ‘Trump’. It also claimed that the trademarks are phonetically different as ‘Trump TV’ contains three syllables opposed to just one.
Matthew Williams, on behalf of the IPO, sided with DTTM and refused the application based on the grounds of bad faith.
Williams said that, as the applied-for trademark involved an “exceptionally well-known businessman and public figure”, combined with accusations that Trump International intended to “interfere with the legitimate interests of the opponent”, a basis for bad faith was formed.
Trump International was ordered to pay DTTM £15,105.70 ($20,133).