Shape Must Convey Brand to Create Goodwill

Many household objects are of a similar shape and even where the shape of an object made by a manufacturer has a particular style, the existence of intellectual property rights in that style will depend on it being unique to the point that potential purchasers will connect that style with that brand.

When the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court heard a dispute between two makers of conically-shaped kitchen measuring cups, the question it asked itself was whether consumers would connect the particular shape with the original supplier, who alleged that a new brand was 'passing off' by benefiting from its brand value arising from an established style.

The Court was not convinced that the average consumer would even know that conically-shaped measuring cups had only been sold by the original vendors, or associate the particular shape with their brand.