Tuesday - 05 March 2019

Mathys & Squire Protects Orb Toys’ Excellent Reputation Against False and Misleading Tabloid References

Top tier intellectual property firm, Mathys & Squire is proud to act for Orb Factory Limited (“Orb”), a well-known, innovative and highly successful toy and children’s products manufacturer based in Canada. Orb operates worldwide, including in the UK and the rest of Europe and has had considerable commercial success with its Soft ‘n Slo Squishies toys.

Late last year, Orb asked us to advise them concerning several grossly misleading and inaccurate articles published on the websites of The Sun and The Mirror. These articles featured Orb’s registered UK trade mark Soft ‘n Slo Squishies, as well as Orb’s images and video content for which Orb owns the copyright.

Two of the tabloid publications referred to a European Commission report issuing a recall of a cake-shaped squishy toy product which had no connection with Orb’s products, whilst a third article referred to a ban on the sale of certain toy products in Denmark, which again were entirely unrelated to Orb’s products. The articles were written in such a way as to give the impression that Orb was associated with all of the “squishies” referred to, that its Soft ‘n Slo Squishies toys had been banned in Denmark, and that its Soft ‘n Slo Squishies toys had been the subject of a recall by the European Commission. This was entirely false as the products to which the articles referred were all different products from unrelated suppliers.

Given the extensive readership of both The Mirror and The Sun, it was of the utmost importance to Orb that the inaccurate articles were removed/rectified swiftly. This was to prevent the misleading publications from causing significant commercial damage to Orb and its business and to preserve the right for Orb to seek interim injunctions from the courts, if necessary.

Our team acted quickly and sent robust letters to The Sun and The Mirror requiring the immediate removal of all references to Orb’s brand and its products from the articles.

The letters sent by our team were forcefully followed up and were successful in securing the removal from the articles of all references to Orb’s trade mark, as well as of its copyright-protected images and video content - all references to Orb’s brand and products were removed from the websites/articles by the respective newspapers within three days of writing to them.

Through its swift action, our team assisted Orb in ensuring that the supreme reputation of its products was maintained and was not besmirched by inadequately researched and wholly inaccurate publications, and without the need for litigation. The team at Orb were delighted with this result.

Our team’s actions serve as a great example of our enviable experience of enforcing our clients’ trade marks and other IP rights, as well as our effective and robust approach to dealing with issues that arise in order to achieve a commercial result.

Our team is always on hand to take quick and direct action in cases where our clients’ intellectual property rights are at risk, whilst also ensuring that our clients’ commercial interests are prioritised.

The development of the reputation of a brand requires a significant investment, both financially and in terms of the considerable time which it can take to build. Unauthorised trade mark use undermines this investment, as it can not only be damaging to brand owners’ commercial efforts, but it can also dilute the value of a brand and its reputation - potentially resulting in irrevocable damage. It is therefore of paramount importance that brand owners take proactive steps to protect their trade mark rights.

If you are concerned about the misuse of your trade mark/branding, or you would like advice on trade marks/branding more generally, please get in touch with Margaret Arnott, Harry Rowe or Daniel Ramos today.

With over 100 years of offering the highest level of IP services to clients, this Tier 1 Legal 500 intellectual property firm, Mathys & Squire has an enviable position as one of the leading IP firms in Europe.  With offices in London, Cambridge, Manchester, York, Brighton, Oxford, Midlands, Paris, Luxembourg and Munich as well as a team in China; the firm offers a full range of services dedicated to identifying, protecting and maximising the value of clients’ innovations, technologies, brands and designs. The firm’s patent, trade mark and design attorneys are qualified at both a UK and European level, with legal expertise across a full spectrum of technical proficiencies and sectors.

About the author

Margaret Arnott

Partner

Margaret has been a trade mark specialist in private practice since 1992. She is a registered UK and European trade mark and design attorney and a member of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. Margaret has considerable experience in advising a broad range of clients, including multinational corporations, in the development, management, exploitation, protection and enforcement of their trade mark portfolios. She is an experienced advocate.