Direct Line wins court battle with esure

24-07-2008

Direct Line wins court battle with esure
Direct Line has won a court battle to prevent rival insurer esure from using a mouse on wheels as its logo after a judge ruled the similarities could confuse consumers.

Royal Bank of Scotland-owned insurer Direct Line has used a red telephone on wheels as part of its advertising campaign since 1990, but esure introduced a mouse on wheels in 2004.

The mouse on wheels was then used by Direct Line to advertise its own online insurance services and a battle for the logo began between the companies.

The initial application by esure to trademark the mouse on wheels was accepted by the Trade Mark Registry, but following a hearing requested by Direct Line decided to reject it.

After the case, esure appealed to the High Court to overturn the ruling.

Direct Line's research suggesting consumers were confusing the two companies was rejected by the court during the case.

But Lord Justice Jacob agreed esure's advertising could be confused with Direct Line's campaign and has blocked esure's application to trademark the logo.

A Direct Line spokesperson said: "Direct Line is delighted that after careful consideration, the court has rejected esure's bid to challenge the decision made by the Trade Marks Registry on December 13th 2006.

"The phone on wheels is synonymous with Direct Line and is firmly associated with the delivery of a fast, friendly and accessible service."

Peter Wood, chairman of esure, said: "We are very disappointed in the Court of Appeal's decision. In our opinion, key issues remain unresolved and key questions unanswered, so we are considering a further appeal."

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