Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
10 June 2005
Hearing Officer
Mr J MacGillivray
Pearly Guild
36, 41, 42
Pearly Guild
Pearly Guild
Section 3(6)


Section 3(6): - Opposition failed.

Points Of Interest

  • None


The Pearly Guild was first formed in 1902 to collect for charity and it remained active until after the Second World War. It was revitalised in 1977 by President George Major to support the Queen’s Silver Jubilee but subsided some eighteen month later. The Pearly Guild was re-formed in 1997 and again President George Major was involved; a draft constitution was adopted in 1997 and new members were appointed. Subsequently there was a dispute within the group and a Mr Dole (one of the opponent members) was dismissed and Mr Major ceased to be a member in 2002). (The mark in suit was applied for in November 2002). It would appear that Mr Dole, Mr Major and others formed a separate group also called the Pearly Guild (the present opponent) between December 2002 and March 2003.

The title "President of the Pearly Guild" ceased when the applicant became a Company Limited by Guarantee (operating as a charity) in September 2002. There are two other Pearly organisations, the Pearly Association and the Pearly Society and the applicant claims the support of these organisations.

Both parties filed evidence, much of which related to the disputes between the two groups, but a copy of the Pearly Guild Constitution adopted in 1997 was also filed. This Constitution makes provision for the Management of the Guild and the Guild’s Policy.

In relation to the trade mark application the applicant states that it was agreed at a sub-committee meeting in July 2001 (at which Mr Major, a member of the opponent, was present). The proposal was, apparently, endorsed at The Pearly Guild Extraordinary General Meeting dated 9 November 2002. It also notes that Mr Major and his family were unable to verify membership at the meeting as they had not paid their subscriptions.

The Hearing Officer considered the evidence before him and the claim to bad faith. He noted that the executive committee in 1997 comprised George Major, George Davison, Sue Smith and the Charity Steward Ed Berman. At the meeting in November 2002 three of the four members remained. Thus it could hardly be argued that this was a "breakaway group". The Hearing Officer went on to conclude that it appeared that the Guild’s strategy of securing corporate charitable status and trade mark registration had widespread support. There was no evidence of bad faith on the part of the applicant in applying for the mark in suit. Opposition failed

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