11 April 2018Trademarks

Selfridges fends off opposition in Harry Gordon’s Bar dispute

The UK Intellectual Property Office ( IPO) has given high-end retailer Selfridges the right to register its ‘Harry Gordon’s Bar’ and ‘Harry Gordons’ trademarks following an opposition.

Selfridges applied for the trademarks in May 2013, citing classes 29, 30, 32, 33 and 43. They cover goods including meat, fish and poultry, coffee and tea, bread and pastry, alcohol, and services for providing drinks.

The trademarks were applied for in relation to Selfridges’s Harry Gordon’s Bar, which was inspired by the success of the television series “Selfridges”, a drama depicting the life of the retailer’s founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge.

In August 2013, restaurant chain Harry’s New York Bar filed a notice of opposition against all of the goods and services in both of the applications. The opposition was filed on the basis that the applied-for trademarks were similar to its own trademark and the goods and services that it covers.

Referring to the use of the name ‘Harry’, the opponent argued that Selfridges’s trademarks were too similar to its ‘Harry’s Bar’ trademark (UK number 3,199,892), which falls under class 43 and was registered in 2017.

Consequently, the marks applied for are phonetically and conceptually similar to the earlier mark, Harry’s New York Bar said. The company added that they are visually similar because the name ‘Harry’ features as a prefix in the marks applied for and constitutes the “major and most dominant component” of its mark.

Harry’s New York Bar, which was established in 1911, stated that its trademark has a reputation in respect of bars and restaurants that covers a wide area of the EU. It claimed Selfridges was riding on the “coat-tails” of its reputation.

The opponent’s bars can be found in The Sheraton Hannover Hotel and The Lindner Hotel in Frankfurt which, according to Harry’s New York Bar, are the same kind of establishments that would be frequented by the people that shop at Selfridges in Oxford Street, London.

Subsequently, this could cause confusion among patrons, according to the opponent.

Selfridges rejected the opposition’s claims, stating that its bar was named after the retailer’s founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge, arguing there is not a sufficient similarity between the parties’ trademarks.

Al Skilton, on behalf of the IPO, said that the trademarks applied for by Selfridges and the Harry’s New York Bar trademark have low conceptual similarity.

She highlighted that the opponent’s ‘Harry’s Bar’ trademark indicates that the bar is owned or operated by somebody called Harry, giving no reference to the last name Gordon. Meanwhile, Selfridges’s trademarks refer to a specific individual named Harry Gordon.

The opponent failed in its opposition, and was ordered to pay Selfridges £2,200 ($3,100).

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