Thursday, January 21, 2016

LTC Black Cabs Not Unique, High Court Rules, Paving Way For MetroCab

A high court judge has ruled that one of London’s most famous sights, the black cab, is not that unique after all, concluding that they are “devoid of inherent distinctive character”.

Mr Justice Arnold said that the taxis are “merely a variation of the typical shape of a car” and ruled that trademarks exclusively relating to its shape should be deemed invalid.

He made the judgment on Wednesday after a legal row between the manufacturer of the traditional London taxi and the group behind a new eco-friendly cab. The ruling paves the way for the “green” taxis to hit London’s roads over the next few years.

Arnold said: “In my view the CTM [the design of the black cab] would have been perceived by the average consumer of taxis as merely a variation of the typical shape of a taxi.

“I should make it clear that, if one considers the question from the perspective of the average consumer of cars, in my view the CTM would be perceived as merely a variation of the typical shape of a car.”

The two trademarks in question during the hearing related to three-dimensional drawings of the exterior of the typical black cab.

The London Taxi Company, which is owned by Chinese group Geely, had claimed the new Metrocab was “substantially copied” from the design of the TX4, the latest version of the hackney carriage. 

The Metrocab is a hybrid-powered taxi developed by Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive. The zero-emissions vehicle uses an electric battery and a petrol engine, which extends the range of the battery.

The judge dismissed fraud allegations by the London Taxi Company as “deeply implausible” and said that even if the trademarks were valid then the Metrocab was not simply a copy of the TX4.

The Metrocab is scheduled to go into bulk production later this year and is at the forefront of a drive by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, to ensure that all new taxis are zero-emission by 2018. Geely has pledged to invest £250m into a new facility in Coventry to produce greener versions of its black cab.

Peter Johansen, the chief executive of the London Taxi Company, said: “We are understandably disappointed by the judge’s ruling. We will review the ruling to determine our way forward.”

The London Taxi Company has been in operation since 1899, with black cabs going on to become one of the symbols of London.

A fleet of black cabs featured in the closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics, and last year it was voted as London’s favourite transport “design icon” in a survey conducted by Transport for London (TfL) and the London TransportMuseum.

It represents another blow for the traditional London taxi as it battles against the rise of Uber, the car-hire smartphone app.

TfL announced on Wednesday that after conducting a consultation it would not be introducing proposed new regulations that would have affected Uber, including forcing minicab operators to provide booking confirmation details to the passenger at least five minutes before a journey starts.

The high court decision follows a similar ruling on Wednesday about KitKat, with the same judge deciding that Nestlé could not trademark the shape of its chocolate bar.

Source : The Guardian


Anonymous said...

looks like some one is following the money

Anonymous said...

And now the end is near....
I've been predicting this kind if ruling was coning for years, but as always other can drivers dismissed it. This ruling is the shape of things to come, if you'll pardon the pun. With Boris's mental illness about zero emissions forcing ever increasingly impossible targets on the vehicle manufacturers,the only outcome can be that the purpose built taxi will soon become the exception rather than the rule. I think that the plan is, that by imposing such unrealistic emission targets, tfl will eventually abandon the two tier system and make London an all electric emission free zone of a one size fits all taxi industry. The tradition and iconic aspects of black cabs are rapidly disappearing with the average Londoner, not even being born in London and not part of their culture as it is of those who were.So it would not be that much of a loss if it wasn't there any more.
We can kid ourselves as much as we want, but I don't think it's going to be too far into the future, before we get faced with the final curtain.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful article, but i see this as a victory, it wasnt long ago when ltc went under and the iconic taxi was almost lost. We not only have something to fall back on if it happens again, but competition between the two firms will lead to cheaper and better made vehicles.
With such more jobs created in the industry our industry gets strongerand more considerations will be addressed when bringing out laws that effect our entire industry.
The london taxi must retain its iconic look to distinguish between our vehicles and meet the requirements such as the disabled access, the height requirement, partition etc. So if similarities occur and the vehicle needs square headlights to stop the chinese disrupting the world economy any further than so be it.
But much gratitude towards geely for saving our iconic design.

Anonymous said...

Did man and Overton moan about the beard more company back in the 60s , if London taxi company had put a Nissan Engine in the TX4s or a mitsibushi Engine in like they do for the cabs that are for sale abroad , and hadn't put a crappy Italian Engine or used that useless ford engine for TX2 they would have blown the vito and Metro cab out of the water , and if they had made the tx4 so I could stretch my left leg and it had space so my left foot could fit left side of the break peddle , when I'm driving my knee has to be bent no room to stretch my leg , I have never driven any car or van that you can't put your foot left side of break peddle , even my 02 Nissan micra is more comfortable to drive ......

Anonymous said...

perhaps HEARSE manufacturers will issue similar Court Proceedings!

Alan Wicker

Anonymous said...

Tx4's shit cabs end of. 43k there having a bubble

AndyCabb said...

If our trade goes belly up who do you think Geely will sell their vehicles to. They have remained remarkably quite throughout the crises we face (unless I have missed something). The mayor has already said it's possible TFL will buy these vehicles and lease them. Now add this all up and just WHO do you think will be driving these vehicles if we are not. Surely I don't need to spell it out!