METRO v Independent Newspapers Trademark Case

Posted: 5 years ago in: Case Study, News, Trademark DisputePosted By admin

Holders of registered trademarks have an established property right.  In some ways this is more powerful than owning a physical property, because the registered trademark property right extends across the whole territory of the  State, and infringement is regarded as a serious matter by the courts.

In 2005 Independent News and Media sought to publish a free-sheet newspaper called “Herald Metro”.  Metro was a registered trademark held by a competitor, and its owners sought an injunction against Independent Newspapers to stop them using Metro in the title, thereby potentially infringing its registered trademark.  The Metro free sheet is a joint venture involving the Irish Times, Associated Newspapers and Metro International.

The High Court decided that there was a likelihood of confusion, and therefore that the property right contained in the first registered trademark, Metro, for similar goods and services, may be infringed upon by the publication of a new newspaper free sheet titled Herald Metro.

Accordingly, it stopped Independent News and Media from using Metro in its title (by granting an injunction to holders of the registered trademark).  Subsequently, Independent News and Media proceeded to launch its free sheet with the name Herald AM, and Metro was also launched by the holders of the registered trademark.

Fortunegreen, the joint venture vehicle behind the Metro, succeeded in protecting the property right contained in the registered trademark, and blocked a competitor from using the word Metro as the title of a rival publication.

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