6 April 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Delta Airlines scores partial TM win at UKIPO

Delta Airlines has partially blocked the registration of a ‘Sky Club’ trademark by a UK private travel concierge service on the grounds that it would cause confusion with its own airport lounge brand.

UK-based  Ontro filed to register a logo for ‘Sky Club’ as a UK trademark in February 2017, covering a wide range of travel-related services in classes 16, 35, 39, 41 and 43.

The company operates an invitation-only, VIP travel concierge service.

Delta opposed the application, citing its EU trademark for ‘Delta Sky Club’ (number 8149941) covering “air transportation services featuring transit lounge facilities for passenger relaxation” in class 39.

In its decision, the  UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) concluded that there was a likelihood of indirect confusion between the two marks in respect of many of the travel-related services applied for in class 39.

The average consumer would likely think the similar goods and services were offered by the same business, the IPO examiner wrote.

But the Ontro ‘Sky Club’ mark was allowed to proceed to registration for other goods and services where the IPO found no likelihood of confusion.

These include in-flight magazines, office functions, coach travel, and organising conferences.

While these are not entirely unrelated to air travel, they did not share the same trade channels as an airline such as Delta, the IPO found.

Delta has been caught up in a number of trademark disputes lately,  most recently with the Marriott Hotels group.

The airline has objected to Marriott expanding its Canadian brand Delta Hotels into the US, arguing that it infringes its preexisting trademark rights.

Delta went as far as to accuse Marriott of refusing to “see reason” and negotiate a licence to use the name.

The dispute is the subject of a lawsuit filed by Delta at the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Elsewhere, Delta is having to fight off a suit  filed by rival American Airlines, over Delta’s use of the term “flagship” to promote its airport lounges.

American Airlines offers its own travel lounge services under the ‘Flagship’ brand. The complaint came in the context of a calculated effort by Delta to pry customers away from American Airlines, the suit claimed.

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More on this story

18 March 2020   Marriott Hotels’ expansion of its Canadian brand Delta Hotels into the US has angered Delta Airlines, which has hit out at the company for refusing to “see reason” and negotiate a licence to the air carrier’s trademarks.
7 April 2020   A business that claims its heritage from the historic East India Company has been rebuffed in its efforts to block a series of trademarks related to the name.
16 April 2020   English rugby club Wasps has blocked a slingshot company from registering a trademark at the UK Intellectual Property Office.