Sofa Wars: Use of a Community trade mark in more than one Member State is crucial to its survival

A battle between warring sofa giants, Sofa Workshop and Sofaworks (Sofa Workshop Ltd v Sofaworks Ltd [2015] EWHC 1773 (IPEC)), has cast light whether use of a Community trade mark in one member state is enough to constitute genuine use in the Community.


Genuine Use

A Community trade mark must be put to genuine use in the Community in connection with the goods or services for which it is registered.

Genuine use requires the mark to be used in accordance with its essential function, which is to guarantee the identity of the origin of the goods or services for which it is registered, in order to create or preserve an outlet for those goods. Genuine use must be more than ‘token’ use for the sole purpose of attempting to preserve rights in the mark.

Assessing whether there is genuine use involves looking at all the circumstances relevant to establishing whether there is real commercial exploitation of the mark in the course of trade.