Lewis Hamilton lost a 3-year legal battle with Hamilton Watch Company
I'm surprised it took three years
A little over three years ago, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton got into a bit of a legal fight with Hamilton Watch Company for the use of the name 'Hamilton' in Europe, and of course he lost, and I'm just gonna cut straight to the point: why did it take so long?
I mean, I like the guy, he's one of my favourite F1 drivers, but the first thing I thought when I heard about this was "damn, his lawyers must be really good" because how else would you explain that it took Hamilton Watch Company, a brand that's been around since 1892, three years to win a battle over a name that A, Lewis Hamilton has only been using since 1985, the year he was born and B, is actually a pretty common name.
This, by the way, is one of (many) reasons cited by the court that rejected Hamilton's (the driver) appeal. The court verdict said that the argument "relating to the IP rights of the racing driver 'Lewis Hamilton' fails. It is a rather common surname in English-speaking countries". They also added that "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".
It goes on. And I find it honestly surprising that it got this far, "the contested mark 'HAMILTON' had been used since 1892, i.e. even before the date of birth of 'Lewis Hamilton' as a natural person. In fact, the EU trademark proprietor demonstrated a significant economic activity in the horological field since 1892." Hamilton International was founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and relocated to Switzerland in 2003.
I had to do a bit of digging because it seems the news is widely being reported a*s-backwards. It seems Hamilton said "I know, I'm gonna make (Lewis) Hamilton watches" and Hamilton Watch Company intervened and said "nope. Can't use the Hamilton name on a watch, mate" and that's fine. So far so good. That should've been the end of it and it blows my mind that it wasn't, and that it went on for three years. Because here's what happened: Hamilton's company, named 44IP, was attempting to secure trademark rights on the Hamilton name for a variety of different goods, including watches and smartwatches, and when Hamilton Watch Company intervened, 44IP didn't back down. In the end, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled against 44IP because of the aforementioned reasons.
Now, for the sake of argument, Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović did something similar, he applied for a trademark for his name but A, he only did it in his home country Sweden, not the whole European Continent, and B, the name 'Zlatan' is indeed quite distinctive and unique.
This is a bit comical, to be honest. It's insane that the legal battle even began in the first place and it is even more worrying that the verdict took three years. It should've been over with and done in 3 minutes. Am I missing something?