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Specsavers has managed, on appeal, to uphold the validity of its following wordless logo mark (which appears in black, but is registered without any colour limitation and so is registered in respect of all colours), despite the fact that they have never used it on its own in trade in the UK.
The Court held that the use made by Specsavers of the following mark, in trade in the UK, constituted genuine use of the wordless logo mark.
The Court made clear that, in general, it is unlikely that the background of a word mark (e.g the background elipses to the word "Specsavers") would be perceived by the average consumer as an indication of the trade origin of goods or services bearing the background. However, in this (somewhat unusual) case, the Court was persuaded by "powerful" and "convincing evidence" that average consumers have come to see the background elipses to the word mark "Specsavers" as a trade mark in their own right, indicating the origin of goods/services sold/supplied under the the mark. The wordless logo mark serves to identify the goods/services as those of a particular undertaking, namely "Specsavers". Consumers do not need to see the word "Specsavers" to know that the goods/services in question originate from them - the wordless logo mark denotes "Specsavers" even without the word "Specsavers" written across it. It does not act as mere background to the word "Specsavers" - it itself is seen as a trade mark.