European Union trademark application No 18 086 744 is rejected in its entirety.
This is a Letter to the Editor guest article by Giovanni Laporta:
I’m getting in touch for a couple of reasons. One, so that you can share the news that Yale has lost an ongoing trademark dispute with Smart Ready® and was told to pay costs to Smart Ready®. Yale (Assa Abloy) made a European trademark application in June 2019 to attempt to register Smart Living Ready. It was rejected and it’s not difficult to see why. Smart Living Ready versus Smart Ready® – confused? Three judges from the EU trademark office were, hence, the rejection of the application, in its entirety. This decision will help protect consumers and hopefully put to bed any rumours that have been circulating about who owns what brand. I want to make clear: there is one Smart Ready® brand.
Secondly, I want this news to serve as a red flag to your readers that they must be careful about which brands they opt for when getting into the emerging Smart windows and doors market. As this latest development from the EU Trademark office shows, some brands are clearly not that smart.
While I can’t say for certain that Yale tried to pass off or attempted to trademark the brand Smart Living Ready in bad faith – maybe they missed the huge Smart Ready® launch at FIT 2019 and our subsequent marketing – I can’t help but feel they were crossing a line. Just because a name of logo looks good and fits with trying to sell your own product or service, it doesn’t mean you can use it without consequences, which in this case put Yale under the legal spotlight.
As a marketer myself, it’s clear to me that brands and trademarks are inseparable. A brand is the sum total of the many parts of a company’s corporate face – logos, imagery, slogans, colours, music – all of which contribute to build consistency, clarity, quality and trust. It gets my back up (put politely) when so-called professional global giants try to step on the toes of emerging super brands by playing with semantics to try to access a huge market without putting in any work for themselves. I have invested an enormous amount of time, money, creativity, and energy in developing Smart Ready® and the service around it so the whole market can reap the rewards.
I’ve said many times in public, that I will protect my brands before I even think to blink. People who know me, know I stand by my word and this latest news is proof. I am deeply proud of what me and my teams have achieved, like anyone who has created a business should be.
The window and door industry needs to take branding and trademarks much more seriously, especially now that Smart is emerging for windows and doors. The alternative can amount to shame when caught stealing sweets in a big shop, which can reflect badly on our industry.
Inventor and Innovator at Smart Ready®
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