The claimant companies were members of a group of companies owning the ‘Scrabble’ brand in Europe and the rest of the world (with the exception of the United States and Canada). The group owned four registered Community or United Kingdom trade marks in the word marks 'SCRAMBLE' and 'SCRABBLE', the device mark 'SCRABBLE' and a 'Tile' device mark. The defendant was a company and the world's largest social gaming company.
In January 2012, the defendant launched a new game called 'Scramble with Friends' for the Apple iPhone and iPad market. The claimants commenced proceedings for infringement of the registered Community or UK trade marks. The claimants' stated that they planned to launch a new game under the SCRAMBLE mark alone between December 2012 and February 2013. The claimant sought an expedited trial on the grounds that the launch of the new product would be greatly prejudiced if it had to compete on the market with the defendant's 'Scramble with Friends', and there would be a risk of serious and unquantifiable damage to the existing Scrabble brand in its digital version if it too had to compete with 'Scramble with Friends'.
The application to expedite the trial would be dismissed. It was settled law that a case should be granted expedition only on the basis of real, objectively viewed, urgency and in the circumstances, this had simply not come near affording the kind of cogent justification that would be needed to jump the normal place in the queue.
Published on 20/07/2012