Out-Law News | 27 Jun 2006 | 5:38 pm | 2 min. read
Telecoms firms have been using the phrase 'next generation networks' to refer to high bandwidth, often optical networks which allow a previously impossible degree of integration between voice and data services. Thus, in particular, has long trumpeted its 'next generation' capabilities.
In order to object, either now or after the trade mark has been granted, telecoms companies will try to prove that they were using the phrase prior to the application. Thus is fighting to challenge the registration on the grounds that it is generic, and wants industry regulator Ofcom to join its fight.
"We will be opposing this application and we are calling on the industry and Ofcom to support us in this matter," said a statement from Thus.
A Thus spokeswoman said that the firm had been using the term 'next generation networks' for two years and has already collected supporting documentation of its use dating back to the start of 2005. WFI applied for trademark protection in the EU in 2005.
"We need to prove that they can't have it, that it is a very generic industry term," said the Thus spokeswoman. "We need to provide evidence that it is a generic term, that we have been using it for some time and that others have too."
"Whether or not Wireless Facilities Inc can obtain a trade mark registration to the words 'next generation networks' will depend largely on whether the term is 'devoid of distinctive character' in the parlance of the Community Trade Mark Office or is a descriptive term used to describe the goods and services covered by its application," said Curtis.