Puma has in recent years poured significant marketing resources into its ‘Forever Faster’ promotional strapline – so much so, that it recently attempted to protect it as part of the brand’s intellectual property.
Presumably buoyed by the fact that its sporting rival Nike (‘Just Do It’) along with Nestlé’s Kit Kat ( ‘Have a Break’) and even Specsavers’ (‘Should-ve’) had achieved similar successes, Puma believed their promotional slogan had equal merit to be considered as a trade mark.
However, the EU General Court has now ruled that the phrase was not sufficiently distinctive and, as such, the application was turned down.
BJ Chong, a Partner with Palmers who specialises in IP law, said: “Once a trade mark is registered other parties are prevented from using the same name in order to avoid confusion amongst consumers.
“However for a trademark to succeed it cannot be either descriptive of the goods or services they protect or devoid of any distinctive character.
“In the case of the latter, it is something of a judgement call regarding how distinctive a set of words are.
“In Puma’s case, the Court ruled that merely suggesting sports clothing could make an individual go ‘even faster’ or ‘go faster for longer’, is a promotional statement which is not unusual in sportswear and, as a result, it is not a signifier of origin. On that basis, the court ruled that it was not sufficiently distinctive to be registered.”
Any company wishing to protect their intellectual property should seek expert legal advice, whether this be a trademark, a registered design, or a patent.
For help and advice on all aspects of IP law, please contact us.