A recent judgment handed down by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court acts as a reminder of the dangers posed by using an acronym to describe a particular service where the same acronym is used by a different provider of the same or similar services. In this case, an NHS Trust named their specialist multidisciplinary mental health service “RAID” which the Court found to infringe APT Training & Consultant Limited’s trade mark, held in the same word.
In order to infringe a registered trade mark the use of the sign must be “in the course of trade”. In a finding which may have wider ramifications for the NHS, the Court dismissed the Trust’s argument that it did not use the word RAID in “the course of trade” as it was a non-profit making entity whose primary function was the provision of health services in England. Although the Court accepted the Trust did not provide services using the word RAID for profit it noted that this was not decisive and the fact that the Trust obtained payment for the provision of its RAID service from a commissioner was an important factor in concluding the Trust used the word RAID in the course of trade.
The Trust was ordered to pay damages to the Claimant.