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.
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.”