Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
27 November 2007
Hearing Officer
Mr G Salthouse
Air Parts Europe Limited
Inbev SA
Sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) & 5(4)(a)


Section 5(2)(b): Opposition failed. Section 5(3): Opposition failed. Section 5(4)(a): Opposition failed.

Points Of Interest

  • The opponent appealed to the Appointed Person. In his decision dated 9 June 2008 (BL O/160/08) the Appointed Person upheld the Hearing Officer's decision and dismissed the appeal. However, he offered guidance as to the scale of costs to be awarded to private litigants and in this case adjusted the costs awarded by the Hearing Officer.


The opponent owns three registrations for the mark BECK’S in Class 32 in respect of beer and a registration for the same mark in Class 25 in respect of articles of clothing. The Hearing Officer determined that its strongest case rested with its BECK’S registration in Class 32 and he also determined that the opponent’s goods were very similar to the wines and spirits in the applicant’s specification.

The opponent filed evidence to show that it has used its BECK’S mark in the UK in relation to beer from 1989 and it was accepted by the applicant that BECK’S was well known in the UK and that it should benefit from an enhanced reputation.

Under Section 5(2)(b) the Hearing Officer compared the respective marks BECK’S and SOUTH BECK but though it unlikely that they would be confused even though the word BECK appears in both marks. It was likely that the opponent’s mark BECK’S would be seen as a personal name whereas the applicant’s mark would be recognised as a geographical name in view of the opponent’s evidence that BECK means a stream, a brook or a small river. The Hearing Officer went on to conclude that there was no likelihood of confusion of the public and that opposition on this ground failed.

The opponent also failed in its ground of opposition under Section 5(4)(a) because it was accepted at the hearing that the decision on this ground would follow the decision on the Section 5(2)(b) ground.

As regards the ground under Section 5(3) it was accepted that the opponent had a significant reputation but as the respective marks were not similar opposition also failed on this ground.

Full decision O/348/07 PDF document63Kb