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Dyson v Registrar of Trade Marks

[2007] Case C-321/03

Case summary last updated at 31/01/2020 13:49 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Dyson v Registrar of Trade Marks

Dyson had made and sold baglessvaccum cleaners since 1993. Sought to register trademark of: “a transparent bin or collection chamber forming part of the external surface of a vacuum cleaner as shown in the representation” (image attached to application). High Court took view that illustrations were entirely descriptive of product. Then made a preliminary reference to ECJ on issue of distinctiveness; however ECJ ignored this question, and instead chose to answer question of whether subject matter of application was in fact capable of registration at all. Held:
 
·       Subject matter of case is not a particular type of transparent bin or collection chamber.
Ø  Rather it is all the conceivable shapes of such a bin or collection chamber.
·       Thus the sign sought to be registered is a mere property of product concerned
·       Hence doesnot constitute a ‘sign’ for purposes of Article 2.
 
Justifications
·       Were someone to be given trademark relating to non-specific subject matter, would gain an unfair competitive advantage.
Ø  i.e. as they would be able to prevent competitors designing vacuum cleaners with any sort of transparent collection bin on its external surface, regardless of its shape.
Ø  This would be contrary to purpose of Article 2.
·       Thus on facts, 

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