News : 17 November 2008
MG XPower: the IPO’s Hearing Officer delivers his decision
Times have moved on, and the workforce is re-employed effectively. Yes, and no…
The dispute about the ownership of the MG XPower Trade Mark between MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited and Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation has received relatively little coverage in the national media (See: News Digests dated the 10th July, 2008 and the 25th October, 2008) until now and, as a consequence, not much information about the issues involved therein has reached the public domain.
However, the Intellectual Property Office’s Press Office has now provided AROnline with a transcript of the Hearing Officer’s Decision on MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited’s Applications for rectification of the Trade Marks Register in respect of Registration No. 2296016 (the MG XPower Trade Mark) and revocation of thirty one other MG Trade Marks.
AROnline believes that the Hearing Officer concerned, Allan James, neatly outlines both the circumstances giving rise to the dispute and the current position in his Decision and so has decided to follow the precedent set by Autosport.com’s publication of Mr. Justice Eady’s Judgment in Max Mosley –v– News Group Newspapers Limited earlier this year by publishing the transcript in full. You can therefore read the transcript by clicking on this link: www.aronline.co.uk/downloads/xpower.pdf.
Hearing Officer James has decided to exercise the Registrar’s discretion under s. 46(4)(b) and s.64(2)(b) of the Trade Marks Act, 1994 and refer MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited’s Applications for rectification and revocation to the High Court. The High Court will then presumably consolidate those Applications with the Infringement Proceedings which Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corporation (NAC) commenced therein on or about the 5th September, 2008.
However, although the Hearing Officer observed that NAC was unlikely to delay the determination of the High Court Proceedings because of the commercial importance of the issue to the company, he required NAC to provide the Registrar with an undertaking ‘to pursue the referred High Court proceedings with vigour and urgency and to avoid any unnecessary delays.’
AROnline reckons that most, if not all, MG enthusiasts will share Hearing Officer James’ desire for the High Court Proceedings to be concluded ‘with vigour and urgency’ in order to limit any potential damage to the famous MG marque’s reputation…
NAC and MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited have both been given the opportunity to comment upon the Hearing Officer’s Decision. NAC has declined to do so until the conclusion of the High Court Proceedings while MG Sports and Racing Europe Limited’s Managing Director, William Riley, has not, as yet, contacted AROnline.