Feeds

Bubbles mean O2, but anyone can use them

UK carrier takes an early bath

The essential guide to IT transformation

O2 has lost its appeal to the European Court to prevent a competitor using bubbles to represent the company when comparing prices, in a ruling that will have implications beyond the mobile-phone industry.

The dispute goes back to 2004, when a TV advertisement from 3UK compared prices between the two operators, which is fine, but the advert opens with a black and white shot of falling bubbles – a reference to O2's branding.

Copying someone else's brand for a different product or service is not allowed, even if that brand is just some bubbles. Companies that don't defend their branding end up losing it when it becomes generic, but in this instance the bubbles are clearly referring to O2, so there's no attempt to mislead the viewer.

O2 argued that its brand was still being misused, and fought all the way to the European Court of Justice in an attempt to prevent anyone using its branding in future, an attempt which has now failed.

The ruling has implications on all adverts, any company will now be free to use their competition's branding when comparing products or prices.

The ruling has only just been announced, and O2 says it'll be "reviewing it in more detail", but it seems that anyone who wants to put a 20-foot column of blue-tinted water into their lobby may now do so, as long as they make it clear that O2 owns the associated brand and the column is only there for comparative purposes.®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.