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Legal updates

12 Dec 2014

Level of attention of end consumers who buy pharmaceutical products held to be above average

European Union - In Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co KG v OHIM, the General Court has upheld in part a decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal of OHIM in opposition proceedings involving the marks LONARID and MOMARID for goods in Class 5. Among other things, the court held that the board had been right to find that the level of attention of end consumers who purchase pharmaceutical preparations for the reduction of pain and fever is above average. Read update

12 Dec 2014


United States - In In re United Trademark Holdings Inc, the TTAB has found that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks ZOMBIE CINDERELLA and WALT DISNEY’S CINDERELLA for dolls. Among other things, the TTAB found that ‘Cinderella’, as used with a doll, was a weak term and entitled to a limited scope of protection. Read update

12 Dec 2014

Brussels Commercial Court bares its teeth and protects shape of dog food

Belgium - In a recent judgment on the merits, the Brussels Commercial Court has held that the X shape of Mars’ Dentastix dog food constituted a valid 3D CTM and Benelux design. Both IP rights had been invoked against a Belgian company commercialising X-shaped chew sticks for dogs on the European market. Among other things, the court held that the defendant sought to free-ride on Mars’ DENTASTIX mark and to benefit from its power of attraction. Read update

11 Dec 2014

Highest court considers registrability of foreign language trademarks

Australia - In Cantarella Bros Pty Limited v Modena Trading Pty Limited, Australia's highest court has considered an appeal concerning the inherent registrability of the marks ORO and CINQUE STELLE (meaning 'gold' and 'five stars', respectively). It is anticipated that the decision will likely lead to less difficulties in establishing that some marks, which are currently viewed by trademarks examiners as not inherently registrable, are entitled to acceptance. Read update

11 Dec 2014

Supreme Court of Appeal rules in winemakers' dispute

South Africa - In Roodezandt Ko-Operatiewe Wynmakery Ltd v Robertson Winery (Pty) Ltd, the Supreme Court of Appeal has held that the parties’ respective ROBERTSON marks for wine were confusingly similar. Among other things, the court explained the norm of trademark use as it relates to wine, stating that the mark on the product identifies and guarantees the origin of the finished product, while a separate label usually indicates the geographical origin of the grapes. Read update

11 Dec 2014

The Co-operative Bank fails to prevent use of 'co-op'

New Zealand - In The Co-operative Bank Limited v Anderson, the High Court has dismissed the Co-operative Bank’s application for an interim injunction restraining the defendants - the trustees of the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions - from using or asserting a right to use certain names including the word ‘co-op’. The judge noted that courts are unsympathetic to parties who try to monopolise descriptive words and that some degree of confusion must be tolerated. Read update


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