In addition to the above protection for registered trademarks, there is also a form of protection in the UK and Ireland for unregistered trademark rights. Any goods or services sold in the UK or Ireland in the course of business will generate ‘goodwill’. In general terms, an Irish or UK court might assist the owner of goodwill which attaches to a part of their business in preventing a third party from selling goods or offering services in a manner that misleads consumers into believing the goods or services are those of the owner. This type of unlawful activity is called ‘passing off’ and the protection extends not only to trademarks but also to the get-up and overall ‘look and feel’ of a product. As the protection arises automatically through trading activities, no registration of rights is required.
Effect of Brexit on Unregistered Trademarks:
Brexit is not anticipated to have an effect on this area of law.