‘Trump TV’ trademark impeded by UKIPO

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), the organization that adjudicates  trade mark oppositions   in the UK, has found in the opponent’s favor and  refused the registration of a trade mark in the UK for ‘Trump TV’ submitted by ‘Trump International’ in October 2016, a company owned by global entrepreneur Michael Gleissner.

The trade mark was initially challenged by DTTM Operations LLC, the organization responsible for handling trade marks related to US President and businessman Donald Trump. The company holds a trade mark for the word mark ‘Trump’, registered in trademark classes 38 (telecommunications) and 41 (education and entertainment).

DTTM Operations argued that the application for the ‘Trump TV’ trademark was too similar to the ‘Trump’ mark. As a result, they contended, it would necessarily take unfair advantage of, and damage the reputation of, this established word mark that is recognizably found within the UK primarily in the form of the ‘Trump International Golf Links’ golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Gleissner countered the opposition, arguing ‘Trump TV’ was neither visually nor phonetically similar since it contained two words and three syllables as opposed to just one of each for the name ‘Trump’.

In response, the UKIPO maintained that Trump International had an “indefensible position” stemming from a “flagrant degree of cynicism” there was little probability the applicant would have failed to be aware of the international reputation of the ‘Trump’ trademark, even without a trademark search.

Interestingly, this is not the first time Gleissner’s companies have found themselves on the receiving end of a trade mark claim. Gleissner has an extensive trade mark portfolio with thousands across the world, and a World Trademark Review report found “an unprecedented 13.2% of all UK opposition decisions in 2018… being against Gleissner marks”. Indeed, in its judgement in the current representative case, UKIPO referenced “the well-evidenced pattern of abusive behavior on the part of Mr. Gleissner and his related companies”.

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