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Watchmaker Hamilton defeats seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton

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Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is not used to losing.

But a three year legal battle with the Swatch Group-brand Hamilton, aimed at preventing the group trademarking the name Hamilton in Europe, has been quashed.

An EU court threw out a case bought by the driver’s management company that he had no natural right to protection of a name that Hamilton, the watchmaker, has been using since the 19th Century.

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Hamilton was founded in 1892 when it opened its original factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where it was headquartered for 111 years.

 

It was bought by Swatch Group in 1974.

In securing its European trademark, Hamilton International now has the exclusive rights to use the Hamilton name on accessories across the continent.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled: “The argument relating to the IP rights of the racing driver ‘Lewis Hamilton’ fails.

“The contested mark consists solely of one word ‘HAMILTON’, and not ‘LEWIS HAMILTON’. It is a rather common surname in English-speaking countries.

“There is no “natural right” for a person to have his or her own name registered as a trademark, when that would infringe third parties’ rights.”

(Top picture credit: Lewis Hamilton By Morio – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52060566)

2 COMMENTS

  1. I have tremendous respect for Lewis Hamilton for his talent, what he has achieved in the sport and wider society. But, throughout his career, there have been things which he has said and done, which have stopped me from being a fan of his. This is one such example.

  2. From what I understand about the case this summary is pretty much exactly backwards – Hamilton Watch sued Lewis Hamilton to prevent him using his own name on products. He wanted to be able to use ‘Lewis Hamilton’ as a trademark on some products (including watches) but Hamilton (Swatch really) took the action against him to prevent him from doing so. So Hamilton Watch is the aggressor here.

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