Feeds

Bubbles mean O2, but anyone can use them

UK carrier takes an early bath

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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.®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.