Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
16 June 2000
Hearing Officer
Dr W J Trott
The Masters Golf Company Ltd
Augusta National Incorporated
Section 3(1)(b) & (c), 5(2)(b) & 5(3). Section 56 (Paris Convention)


Section 3(1)(b) & (c) - Opposition unsuccessful

Section 5(2)(b) - Opposition unsuccessful

Section 5(3) - Opposition unsuccessful

Section 56 - Opposition unsuccessful

Points Of Interest

  • None.


This application was made on 24 October 1995. The opponents had applied for registration of MASTERS AGUSTA USA in classes 25 and 28 for clothing and sports goods for use in the game of golf on 27 March 1991. In earlier proceedings the current applicants had successfully opposed registration of the opponents mark and, subject to appeal, these marks could not be considered as "earlier rights" in these proceedings. However, the opponents had registrations of their mark in Classes 9, 16, 18, 21 and 41.

Under Section 5(2)(b) the Hearing Officer concluded that the goods of this application were not similar to the goods and services covered by the opponents registrations. Also, while he accepted that the opponents had a reputation in their mark it was for a specific golf tournament and thus did not assist them under this Section.

Under Section 5(3) the Hearing Officer noted that the opponents mark had no reputation in the UK for goods or services - the reputation was only in relation to the famous golf tournament which they organise each year at Agusta. In such circumstances he did not believe that use of the applicants mark would take unfair advantage of, or be detrimental to, the distinctive character of the opponents mark.

While it may be that the term MASTERS has a laudatory connotation the Hearing Officer was of the opinion that the mark as a totality was acceptable. In any event it now had the support of some 5 years good user and this certainly meant that the opponents were unsuccessful in their ground of opposition under Sections 3(1)(b) and (c).

Full decision O/205/00 PDF document34Kb