The Dominion Post
Trademarks are forever Omega tells High Court
THE maker of James Bond’s favourite gadget-laden watch is aiming its legal laser beams at a Californian jeans company over its right to use the watchmaker’s distinctive Greek letter symbol.
The fictional spy’s most common watch of choice is a Seamaster by Omega, which has had a variety of gadgets, including a laser, and could remotely set off bombs in movies since the days of Pierce Brosnan.
Omega appealed to the High Court at Wellington yesterday against a decision from the commissioner of trademarks to allow Guru Denim to use a symbol similar to Omega’s, except that it’s upside down.
Guru applied to use the symbol for several products, including jewellery, cosmetics, luggage and clothing.
Omega has disputed the use only for jewellery – a category that includes watches, clocks, alarm clocks and sundials.
The Omega Seamaster is considered a top seller by Omega in New Zealand, where it has traded since 1945. Ambassadors for the brand have included yachtsmen Sir Peter Blake and Dean Barker.
Intellectual property lawyer Thomas Huthwaite, for Omega, said it was pre- eminent in the field of watches and it was accepted by both sides that the goods and market would be similar.
He said the two marks would be too similar, especially if the Guru Denim device was turned sideways or upside down, as could happen with jewellery.
Consumers could be confused and mixed up and, if they saw the Guru mark, they could think of Omega instead.
Guru had little or no reputation in New Zealand for jewellery or watches, and had no other trademarks in that area, he told Justice Alan MacKenzie. It was better known for jeans.
Guru’s lawyer, Earl Gray, said the two marks were very different and no one would get them confused.
The commissioner of trademarks had found they were different, and it was unlikely consumers would be misled.
The judge did not need to go further than looking at the two marks to make a decision, he said.
MacKenzie reserved his decision.