Lewis Hamilton loses legal battle over the “Hamilton” name

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Three years ago Lewis Hamilton launched a lawsuit against luxury Swiss watchmakers ‘Hamilton’, after they registered the name as their trademark in Europe.

The watchmaker has been using the name since 1892, but Lewis’ legal team tried to prevent the application, claiming it had been filed in ‘bad faith’ and thwarted ‘fair competition’. The lawsuit came after Lewis Hamilton’s company 44IP attempted to trademark the name ‘Lewis Hamilton’ for products such as watches, smartwatches and jewellery and Hamilton International were opposing the move.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled in the watchmakers’ favour.

“The argument relating to the IP rights of the racing driver ‘Lewis Hamilton’ fails,” said EUIPO in the verdict.

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“The contested mark consists solely of one word ‘HAMILTON’, and not ‘LEWIS HAMILTON’. It is a rather common surname in English-speaking countries.

“There is no “natural right” for a person to have his or her own name registered as a trademark, when that would infringe third parties’ rights.

“Even the cancellation applicant explicitly accepted that the contested mark ‘HAMILTON’ had been used since 1892, i.e. even before the date of birth of “Lewis Hamilton” as a natural person.

“No bad faith can be found on the part of the EU trademark proprietor. In fact, the EU trademark proprietor demonstrated a significant economic activity in the horological field since 1892.”

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