London Taxi Corp Ltd v Frazer-Nash Research Ltd & Anr, CA (Kitchin, Floyd LJJ), 1/11/17

In an unsuccessful appeal against a decision that various EU and UK trade mark registrations, consisting of the shapes of London black taxis, were invalid for lack of distinctive character, the court held that the members of the public who hired taxis should not be excluded in principle from consideration as a relevant class of consumer, even though it was the taxi drivers only who were the purchasers of the goods. The purpose of a trade mark broadly was to operate as a guarantee of origin to those who purchased or used the product. However, in the instant case the focus of the hirer was on the provider of the services rather than the manufacturer of the vehicle. The hirer recognised the shapes as licensed London taxis, but that did not mean the shapes had acquired distinctive character as trade marks for the manufacturer.