4 April 2018Trademarks

‘Peaches on beaches’ opposition fails at UKIPO

Sandals Resorts, a Jamaican operator of all-inclusive resorts for couples, has failed in its opposition to the trademark ‘Peaches on beaches’ at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

On Thursday, March 29, the IPO rejected Sandals’ opposition, finding that the common presence of the word “beaches”, which is used in the applied-for mark and Sandals’ marks, would not misrepresent to the public that the applicant’s services are those of Sandals.

Natasha McGuiness and Tehillah McGuiness filed to register the mark ‘Peaches on beaches’ in October last year.

Sandals submitted three trademarks in opposition: one logo featuring the word ‘Beaches’ in a stylised font, another logo including the phrase ‘Beaches Resorts by Sandals’ in a stylised font, while the other trademark only features the word ‘Beaches’.

According to the resort operator, the services provided for under the marks are similar, the word ‘Beaches’ is included in its entirety in the applicant’s mark and the word is highly similar to ‘Peaches’, with the word “On” having no trademark significance.

In response, the McGuinesses claimed that the word ‘Beaches’ is non-distinctive for the goods/services for which registration is sought and highlighted what they claimed were visual, aural and conceptual differences between the marks.

While the IPO found that some of the services covered by the marks were similar (such as travel services and services relating to food and drink), there would be no confusion on behalf of the average consumer.

It found that the visual similarity between the marks was low. The IPO also noted that there was a moderate degree of aural similarity between the applied-for mark and two of Sandals’ marks and low similarity with the logo that contains additional verbal elements.

“The earlier marks will all be conceptualised on the basis of the conventional meaning of the word Beaches, ie, as per the definition provided by the applicants in their evidence, a pebbly or sandy shore, or more accurately, more than one beach. Whilst the applied for mark makes reference to a beach, it has a much more specific connotation,” explained Oliver Morris on behalf of the IPO.

He added that any conceptual similarity is at a very superficial level, because the applied-for mark sends a “somewhat unusual concept of either peaches (as in the fruit) on beaches, or female posteriors on beaches”.

Morris explained that although some consumers may be aware of Sandals’ beach resorts, Sandals has not used the word ‘Beaches’ alone to such an extent that the average consumer will see the trademark as any more distinctive than at a prima facie level.

Sandals’ opposition was dismissed and the resort operator was ordered to pay the McGuinnesses £1,500 ($2,111).

The application may proceed to registration, subject to appeal.

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