Lewis Hamilton loses three-years long legal battle against luxury watchmakers ‘Hamilton’ as the brand created in 1892 holds copyright over the name.
The Swiss brand which has been functioning since 1892 was dragged into the legal battle by the Formula 1 champion three years ago when the former registered ‘Hamilton’ as its trademark, giving them the exclusive right to use the name across Europe.
Lawyers for the Mercedes star’s company 44IP tried to void the application and claimed it had been filed in ‘bad faith,’ thwarted ‘fair competition’ and had not even been used.
But the watch brand interjected the race driver’s lawsuit by claiming that they have been selling their product since 1892, compelling the European Union Intellectual Property Office to nullify his plea for cancellation over the trademark.
In its ruling, the EUIPO said: ‘The argument relating to the IP rights of the racing driver ‘Lewis Hamilton’ fails. 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.’ it was further stated.
‘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 significant economic activity in the horological field since 1892.’
The lawsuit filed due to Lewis Hamilton’s personal entrepreneurial goals
44IP, named after the Mercedes driver’s race number is attempting to trademark the name ‘Lewis Hamilton’ for a number of goods including watches, smartwatches and jewellery and Hamilton International are opposing the move.
Thus, the lawyers of Hamilton accused the defendants of entering into the smartwatches and the legal team of the Briton driver tried to pursue the judgement over these arguments.
‘The appellant bases its accusation of bad faith of the contested trademark’s proprietor on the fact that this party has not provided evidence of the commercial intent of the proprietor of the contested trademark to expand its market to related goods.
‘We do not consider it appropriate or necessary to facilitate market strategies and marketing plans for a competitor, who intends to enter the market with a mark which is practically identical to the well-known earlier marks of our client, by offering goods which are also identical.’
Though, in the end, Hamilton’s company 44IP had to pay £893 towards Hamilton International’s costs in the case.