Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
3 February 2005
Hearing Officer
Mr G Salthouse
09, 11, 28, 41, 42
Registered Proprietor
Rompa Limited
Applicant for declaration of invalidity
The Sensory Company International limited
Application for invalidation
Section 47(1) (citing Sections 3(1)(b); 3(1)(c) & 3(6))


Application for invalidation Section 47(1), citing Section 3(6), 3(1)(b) & 3(1)(c), failed

Points Of Interest

  • 1. Commonly used standard terms; "the word 'Hoover' is used as both a trade mark and also has a meaning of vacuuming".


The applicant claimed that the mark was descriptive of a therapy which benefits people with learning difficulties, and they cited an entry in the Royal College of Psychiatrists glossary of commonly used standard terms in support of this.

There was no dispute that the term had been coined, some time in the 1970s, by two Dutch therapists. These same therapists subsequently wrote a book entitled "Snoezellen Another World", which had been published by the registered proprietor in 1987. The letters TM had appeared besides the word SNOEZELEN. The Hearing Officer thought it reasonable to assume that the authors were aware of this. He concluded that there was no evidence that the registered proprietor had acted in bad faith.

The evidence did not establish that the word was in use as a term for a type of therapy at the time that the original marks were applied for, but it did show that it was established as a trade mark at the time of the later applications. The objection under Section 3(1)(b) failed.

An analysis of the evidence also failed to show that the terms 'snoezelen' had been used in the UK in a descriptive sense. The objection under Section 3(1)(c) also failed.

Full decision O/031/05 PDF document45Kb