O2 loses bubble trademark battle

O2 has lost its four-year battle with rival 3 over the use of its bubble trademark in a TV advert. The European Court of Justice announced its ruling today (June 12).

O2 previously claimed 3 had infringed its bubble trademark in an advert that compared its own pay-as-you-go service to O2‘s. The case involved issues of trademark and advertising law that had to be referred to the ECJ.

The judgement ruled that 3 could use “robust but fair” advertising that uses the bubbles as long as it does not cause consumer confusion. It can still be sued for infringement if it breaches the rules.

Advertising and intellectual property practice Lewis Silkin acted for 3 throughout the case. Giles Crown, Lewis Silkin head of media brands and technology, says the judgement “balances the interests of the comparative advertisers and the rival brand owners” and is “great news” for others involved in comparative advertising.

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