We are used to the victories of Lewis Hamilton on the racetracks, but the impressive sporting achievements of the seven-time world champion does not at all guarantee that he will prevail over rivals in other areas of life.
The three-year litigation with the Swiss watch company, which historically possesses the rights to the Hamilton trademark, ended in defeat for him.
Lewis tried to prevent Hamilton International from registering its brand in Europe, but the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) sided with the watchmaker, since the Hamilton brand has existed since the 19th century. The verdict emphasizes that the watch of this brand was worn by many celebrities, including Elvis Presley, and this was long before the future champion was born.
According to the Daily Mail, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Hamilton’s 44IP company, and the arguments were that Hamilton International was acting in bad faith and hindering fair competition. In addition, the Hamilton brand is allegedly not used.
But EUIPO rejected the claims of Hamilton’s side: “The case of intellectual property rights belonging to driver Lewis Hamilton has been lost. The disputed trademark consists of only one word “Hamilton” and not the words “Lewis Hamilton”. This is a fairly common surname in English-speaking countries …
An individual has no “natural right” to register his name as a trademark when it violates the rights of a third party … On the part of the holders of the rights to this trademark, registered in the European Union, no signs of fraud were found. In fact, they have shown significant economic activity in watchmaking since 1892. “
Hamilton was indeed founded at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States, but in 2003 its headquarters moved to Switzerland. In 2007, the company was taken over by the Swatch Group.