Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
11 August 2003
Hearing Officer
Mr M Reynolds
01, 03
Henkel KGaA
Robert McBride Ltd
Consolidated Oppositions to two applications to protect international registrations: Sections 3(1)(b); 3(1)(c); 3(1)(d) & 3(6)


Section 3(1)(b) - Opposition successful.

Section 3(1)(c) - No formal finding.

Section 3(1)(d) - No formal finding.

Section 3(6) - No formal finding.

Points Of Interest

  • 1. 3D marks : washing/dishwasher tablets : two colour combinations.


This decision was in respect of consolidated oppositions to two applications; a second batch of consolidated oppositions for a further eleven applications, concerning the same parties and heard at the same time, is the subject of the decision set out in BL O/225/03, qv.

Under Section 3(1) the Hearing Officer noted that Section 3(1)(b) was likely to be determinative of the matter and he did not propose to deal with the objections under Section 3(1)(c) or Section 3(1)(d). After setting out the general principles to be followed in applying Section 3(1)(b) and listing the authorities from which they were derived, the Hearing Officer went on to review a number of decisions relating to washing/dishwasher tablet marks.

The elements of the marks in issue were their shapes, the colours employed in them and the manner in which those coloured elements were configured in the marks, he said, and whilst it would not be permissible to pick out one of those elements in turn, decide if it was not distinctive and thus dismiss the marks as a whole, he nevertheless decided to review each element, and give a final appraisal of the whole mark.

In the result, given the nature of the goods, the range of shapes and colours in which they are produced and the manner in which the colour features have been promoted to the public as indicators of function, he concluded that these particular three dimensional tablets would fail to serve as badges of origin. The objection under Section 3(1)(b) succeeded.

The Section 3(6) ground was peripheral to these cases, he decided, and he made no formal finding under that head.

Full decision O/226/03 PDF document125Kb