Recently there have been reports in the press that Oxford University Press has applied for the text-only trademark "Oxford". The mark has now been published and is open for opposition.
Members of the public commenting on the proposed trademark have expressed surprise and concern that an application for a place name is permitted under the relevant legislation. It seems instinctively 'wrong' to many people that businesses or organisations can 'own' rights to a town, city or place name.
Part of the consternation may arise from some misunderstanding about the scope of trademarks. It is often believed that trademarks give the owner a monopoly right to use a given word exclusively for all purposes. In fact the scope of a registered trademark is limited to the goods and services for which the mark is registered.
Guy Wilmot appears in Intellectual Property Magazine discussing trademarks after Oxford University Press applied for the text-only trademark "Oxford".
Oxford debate is available to read on the Intellectual Property Magazine website via subscription.
Guy is a partner in the corporate and commercial team and advises clients on corporate affairs, start-ups, intellectual property and technology, e-commerce and IT.