BLP successfully advises Frazer-Nash and Ecotive in London Taxi Company’s trade mark appeal on new Metrocab

International law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) has successfully advised Frazer-Nash Research Limited (Frazer-Nash) and Ecotive Limited (Ecotive) on the London Taxi Company’s (LTC) claim for a breach of trade mark and passing off, a fraud claim alleging a deliberate misrepresentation.

LTC’s claim against Frazer-Nash and Ecotive alleged that they deliberately created a cab which looked similar to LTC’s “black cab” so that passengers would be deceived into thinking they were getting into a LTC cab.

The Court of Appeal has today (Wednesday 1 November) upheld Mr Justice Arnold judgment in full determining that LTC’s trade marks should never have been registered because they were not inherently distinctive and rejecting the passing off claim.

The evidence given in the High Court was that, given its impressive green credentials, the owners of the new Metrocab wanted their taxi to look distinctive so that it did not look like a polluting diesel. The courts have held that it looks different, which is exactly what the owners set out to achieve.

The decision will allow Frazer-Nash and Ecotive to start production of it’s new, more environmentally friendly Metrocab.

Rupert Ticehurst, Partner, Berwin Leighton Paisner, said, “The new Metrocab is a fantastic taxi. I am delighted that we have succeeded in this disruptive litigation so that the taxi can go into production. The Metrocab will bring quiet and green taxis to London. The benefits for the Capital are enormous.”

Simon Goldring, Senior Associate, Berwin Leighton Paisner, said “Successfully defending this claim will enable Frazer-Nash and Ecotive to proceed to production. Having new Metrocabs on London’s streets will provide enormous environmental improvements.”

Notes to Editors:

LONDON TAXI CORPORATION LIMITED (t/a THE LONDON TAXI COMPANY) v. (1) FRAZER-NASH RESEARCH LIMITED (2) ECOTIVE LIMITED

  • LTC’s claim dismissed by Arnold J in the High Court, January 2016. The Court of Appeal upheld the judgement of Mr Justice Arnold, dismissing all claims brought by LTC on Wednesday 1 November 2017.
  • Mr Justice Arnold’s decision considered that both LTC’s registered trade marks, which depict models of its taxis, were invalid and that even if LTC’s trade marks had been valid, they would not be infringed by the new Metrocab due to the low degree of similarity between the Metrocab and the LTC taxi.

About Frazer-Nash, Ecotive and the new Metrocab:

  • Frazer-Nash and Ecotive have developed a revolutionary and newly iconic, environmentally-friendly taxi, the new Metrocab.
  • The purpose-built new Metrocab is a range-extended electric taxi, which represents the cutting edge of green transportation design. It is the only zero-emission capable taxi currently operating in London and consequently has an unmatched environmental record that exceeds current standards. The new Metrocab incorporates the latest technology for comfort, performance and safety whilst providing substantial cost savings for taxi drivers.
  • The unique vehicle uses a 1.0l petrol engine as a range-extender alleviating concerns arising from the use of diesel fuel. The new Metrocab achieves 99.4 mpg (2.8 L/100 km) on the combined cycle, with even better results with plug-in charging, and was developed without any UK or EU grants.
    The new Metrocab will be fully compliant with new emission regulations due to come into force in London in January 2018.

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