Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
12 March 2002
Hearing Officer
Mr G Salthouse
03, 05
Chemisphere UK Limited
Deb Limited
Sections 3(1)(b) & 3(6)


Section 3(1)(b) - Opposition succeeded

Section 3(6) - Opposition failed

Points Of Interest

  • None


The opponents opposition was based on their claim that the mark applied for is one of the generic expressions used in relation to cleaning preparations, sterilising and disinfectants for use in the cleaning of beerlines, pipelines, pipewashs or pipes and lines. Both sides filed evidence to support their different points of view and the applicants also pointed to the fact that they had used their mark for a number of years prior to application and the mark had become distinctive as an indication of origin of their products.

Under Section 3(6) the Hearing Officer decided that the opponents had filed insufficient evidence to support their claim that the applicants knew the mark applied for was a generic term and therefore that the application had been made in bad faith.

Under Section 3(1)(b) the Hearing Officer noted the applicants claim that their cleaners were not solely for the cleaning of ‘beerlines’ but could also be used on any piping used to convey products from storage to the bar and this could involve ciders, soft drinks and wines. The term 'beerline' would not be used in relation to such piping and clearly "pipeline" was one obvious generic term. The Hearing Officer decided from the evidence before him that the term "Pipeline" was an indication of function rather than an indication of source.

In relation to the acquired distinctiveness claimed by the applicant, the Hearing Officer noted that sales totalled only some £400,000 per annum and that only some £27,000 per annum was spent on advertising. He considered that mere use was totally insufficient to prove that the mark applied for had acquired distinctiveness as an indication of origin and therefore the opposition under Section 3(1)(b) succeeded.

Full decision O/110/02 PDF document34Kb