Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
15 August 2001
Hearing Officer
Mr M Foley
ML Laboratories PLC
Astra Zeneca UK Limited
Sections 3(1)(b), (c) & (d) and 3(3)(a) & (b)


Sections 3(1)(b), (c) & (d) - opposition failed

Section 3(3)(a) & b - opposition failed

Points Of Interest

  • Expert evidence can have a decisive impact on the outcome of proceedings since such evidence can be given full weight by a Hearing Officer.


In relation to Section 3(1) the opponents essential grounds were that ADEPT is a normal dictionary word meaning "thoroughly proficient, a person who is proficient in or at anything" and secondly that is an acronym for "Antibody Directed Enzyme Prodrug Therapy" and is used in relation to treatment for Cancer. Both sides filed extensive evidence to support claims and counter-claims about the likelihood of confusion between the applicants products and use of the acronym.

As a first step the Hearing Officer noted that the word ADEPT is generally used in relation to a person rather than a product and dismissed the ground based on the word’s descriptive/laudatory meaning. As regards the ground based on the use of ADEPT as an acronym, the Hearing Officer considered in close detail the goods claimed within the applicants specification which were for use in human surgical laparoscopic procedures and the goods for treating cancer and concluded that there was unlikely to be any confusion. The opposition based on Section 3(1) therefore failed. In view of this finding, and taking account of the expert evidence provided, it followed that the opponents also failed in their ground of opposition under Section 3(3).

Full decision O/360/01 PDF document52Kb