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Bruce Lee Enterprises success takes a chop as trade mark battle lost

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 10 August 2018

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Bruce Lee Enterprises, who manages the rights of the martial rights star, was on the receiving end of a blow from the UK Intellectual Property Office this week.

The Enterprise made an application in 2016 to register ‘Jun Fan’ as a trade mark in the UK for a number of goods and services including theatre shows.

This references the birth name of Bruce Lee, which was Jun Fan Lee.

This application was blocked by Barisons, who are a production company.

They claim that they had previously contacted the Enterprise to launch a musical in the UK called ‘Jun Fan: the Bruce Lee musical’. The production company argue that the application is a blocking tactic against this and they do not have any intention to genuinely use this.

Therefore, the application was filed in bad faith.

The Enterprise countered back with a denial and a statement which outlines that this was made in good faith and to expand the protection of the Bruce Lee brand.

In February 2017, Barisons filed a subsequent trade mark application to protect ‘Jun Fan the Musical’ in respect of theatre production.

This was opposed by the Enterprise on three grounds, the identical services, the misrepresentation in respect of the two companies relationship and thirdly that the application was made in bad faith due to the Enterprise owning all IP rights of Bruce Lee.

Considering the matter, Allan James of the UK Intellectual Property Office held that the Enterprise had failed to show that the name ‘Jun Fan’ has a reputation in the UK when the application was filed.

James also dismissed the Enterprises mention of personality rights, which do not exist in the UK.

James held that the Enterprise knew of the musical before making the application, had no plans to use the mark in respect of theatre services themselves, therefore included this as a blocking technique.

In respect of the Enterprises application, it was refused in respect of theatre shows but was allowed to proceed on the other classes.

In respect of their opposition, this failed and they were ordered to pay £550.00 costs to Barisons.

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