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Hamilton Loses Legal Battle over ‘Hamilton’ Trademark

Lewis Hamilton – or rather the seven-time world champion’s lawyers – were rebuffed by an EU court in their efforts to prevent a Swiss luxury watchmaker from registering and exploiting the ‘Hamilton’ trademark.

The three-year long legal battle involved a claim by the counsels of the F1 driver’s company, 44IP, that watchmaker Hamilton International had appropriated the trademark in 2017 “in bad faith”.

However, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled against Hamilton’s company, insisting the ‘Hamilton International’ name goes all the way back to 1892, when the manufacturer was established in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The company eventually moved to Switzerland in 2003 following its acquisition by The Swatch Group.

“The argument relating to the IP rights of the racing driver ‘Lewis Hamilton’ fails,” read the EUIPO’s verdict.

“The contested mark consists solely of one word ‘HAMILTON’, and not ‘LEWIS HAMILTON’. It is a rather common surname in English-speaking countries.

“There is no ‘natural right’ for a person to have his or her own name registered as a trademark, when that would infringe third parties’ rights.

“Even the cancellation applicant explicitly accepted that the contested mark ‘HAMILTON’ had been used since 1892, i.e. even before the date of birth of ‘Lewis Hamilton’ as a natural person.

“No bad faith can be found on the part of the EU trademark proprietor. In fact, the EU trademark proprietor demonstrated a significant economic activity in the horological field since 1892.”

You can’t win them all, Lewis!

 

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