21 January 2016Trademarks

London black cab design lacks distinctive character, court rules

The English High Court has rejected The London Taxi Company’s (LTC) passing off claim against a rival company and has revoked its 3D Community trademark (CTM) covering the design of the city’s famous black cabs.

Mr Justice Arnold ruled in favour of the Frazer-Nash Research (FNR) company, the manufacturer of the new eco-friendly Metrocab taxi that the LTC had filed a passing off claim against.

In his ruling, handed down yesterday, January 20, Arnold said there was no evidence that taxi drivers would be more likely to purchase the new Metrocab even if some of their passengers thought that it “emanated from the same source as LTC’s taxis.”

In December 2014, Transport for London handed out licences to five new Metrocab vehicles allowing them to operate under a trial period.

FNR, along with partner organisation Ecotive, plans to start selling the cars by the end of 2016.

The Metrocab is designed to be more environmentally-friendly than the traditional taxi.

The LTC had claimed that the design of the Metrocab infringed its 3D CTM and UK trademarks covering the design of the black cabs.

But Arnold revoked the registrations on the grounds that they lacked “distinctive character”.

Peter Johansen, chief executive of the LTC, said: “We are understandably disappointed by the judge’s ruling. We will review the ruling to determine our way forward.”

Kamal Siddiqi, chairman of FNR and Ecotive, said: “We are delighted with the court’s decision. We are now looking forward to finishing the production version of the new Metrocab and putting them on the road later this year.”

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at