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British Gymnastics land well - lessons for governing bodies on trade mark infringement claims

British Gymnast
Friday, 31 July 2020 By Joshua Charalambous, Greg Burke

The national governing body (NGB) for Gymnastics in Britain has succeeded in trade mark infringement and passing off proceedings against an organisation using the sign “UK Gymnastics”, in a Judgment which is likely to assist several Sport England and UK Sport-funded NGBs (decision available here[1]). In particular, the case shows how to deal with organisations using signs which suggest they are an NGB when they are not.  This article examines the decision, looking specifically at:

  • Background
  • Decision
    • Was there a likelihood of confusion?
    • Unfair advantage or detrimental to distinctive character or repute?
    • Passing Off
  • Key lessons

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Written by

Joshua Charalambous

Joshua Charalambous

Senior Associate, RPC

Josh's work includes acting for Premier League football clubs, club owners, international football players, sports betting operators, sponsors, kit manufacturers, sports retailers and national governing bodies. 
Josh has been the lead associate on High Court and Court of Appeal matters involving football kit and supply arrangements, intellectual property disputes involving sports betting, and on regulatory investigations involving football transfers and agents' fees. 
He regularly contributes as an author on sports law issues including for LawInSport and Sweet & Maxwell's Entertainment Law Review on issues touching the sports sector.  Josh also contributes to the national press commenting on legal issues in sport.
Josh was also a co-opted Independent Council Member for the English Schools Football Association (2017-2020).
Josh Charalambous – a future star, his all-round ability is extraordinary for his level.” Sports, Legal 500 2019

Greg Burke

Greg Burke

Associate, RPC

Greg is an IP and Technology lawyer who engages in a full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work.

Greg advises on headline issues, from the legal implications of AI to online hosting. On the contentious side, he has wide-ranging experience across copyright, trade mark and technology disputes.

Greg is active in several sectors, with standout experience in media. Whilst on secondment at Apple he worked on music festival partnerships and the roll-out of Apple TV+. He has also advised the world's largest digital media companies on copyright and terms of service. His major interest lies in understanding the impact of new technology and the law's efforts to keep up.

Fluent in French and German, Greg likes to write fiction in his free time.

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