Brands Update: does every little help?

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has rejected Tesco’s stylised mark for the word CLUBCARD covering a range of goods and services, including loyalty cards.

Despite the mark being used since 1995, 16 million users of Tesco’s loyalty scheme and considerable turnover figures, the hearing officer found the mark to be devoid of any distinctive character. Use alone does not equal distinctiveness, even if the use is substantial. Marks devoid of distinctive character are incapable of fulfilling a trademark’s essential function — to act as a badge of origin…

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