Esure vows to fight on despite court ruling

Esure’s two-year row with Direct Line over the trademarking of a computer mouse on wheels looks set to rumble on after Esure vowed to fight a ruling that came down in favour of its rival.

The Trade Mark Registry last month backed Direct Line’s objection to Esure’s trademark application for the mouse on wheels, but now Esure says it will appeal.

Direct Line claimed Esure’s application infringed its red telephone on wheels trademark but an Esure spokesman says: “We believe that telephones and mice are suitably different to allow our trademark to be registered.”

The mouse on wheels was first used in a TV ad for Esure in 2004. The character is not currently in use but did feature in direct response TV ads during the trademark case.

Esure was launched in 2001 by Peter Wood as a joint venture with Halifax Bank of Scotland. Wood also founded Direct Line in 1985 with the backing of Bank of Scotland.

The Trade Mark Registry ruled that Esure’s image could confuse the public because of its similarity with its rival’s long-standing brand icon, which was created by Wood, Chris Wilkins and Sian Vickers in the early 1990s.

The Registry added: “The applicant’s mark is likely to take unfair advantage of and/or cause detriment to the distinctive character and reputation of the earlier marks.”

Esure dropped its Mister Mouse character at the end of last year after deciding to bring back Michael Winner as the face of its advertising (MW November 23, 2006).

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