The recent news reports that Jaguar Cars has filed a trade mark infringement claim against luxury watch maker Christopher Ward is yet another warning to brand owners of the dangers of launching a new brand name without first carrying out the necessary trade mark clearance searches.

According to reports, between 2014 and 2016 Christopher Ward sold a number of luxury watches under the brand name D-TYPE, each retailing for between £449 and £2995. Car lovers will know that, despite the fact that only 75 cars were made, D-TYPE was a famous marque of Jaguar Cars, having won Le Mans for three years running, between 1955 and 1957.

Jaguar Cars now argues that use of the trade mark D-TYPE by Christopher Ward infringed its trade marks including its brand reputation. Quite apart from having registered trade mark protection of D-TYPE for cars, Jaguar Cars also is the owner of a number of EUTM registrations for or featuring D-TYPE for a range of merchandise, including “watches” in trade mark class 14. This is not surprising when you consider that Jaguar Cars is selling a broad range of branded merchandise on its website including clothes, fashion accessories, luggage, stationery, toys, and – of course – watches.

The take-home point here is that it is vital to ensure that your trade mark is available for use and registration in the UK and in any other international markets in which you actively trade (or plan to trade) so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong-end of an infringement action. The best way to do this is to instruct a trade mark legal expert to carry out clearance searches, ideally before you have already incurred substantial sums of money in launching a new product or service.

Here at the Trademark Hub, we have a wealth of experience in helping the full spectrum of brand owners – from sole traders and SMEs through to multinationals – to search, protect, and enforce their brands and designs both in the UK, in Europe, and around the world.

By conducting trade mark searches, you can make sure that when you launch your new product or service, another trade owner is not going to leap out of the long grass and pounce!