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Legal updates

30 Sep 2014

ECJ draws a line around shape marks

European Union - In Hauck GmbH & Co KG v Stokke A/S, the ECJ has considered the interpretation of Article 3(1)(e) of the Trademarks Directive (89/104/EEC), which concerns the registration of shape marks. Overall, the decision seeks to draw a tighter line around shape marks and prevent the trademark system from being used to gain longer-term protection for creations and innovations that would usually be protected by time-limited rights. Read update

30 Sep 2014

Trade dress must create visual impression on consumers to warrant protection

United States - In Fair Wind Sailing Inc v Dempster, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s trade dress and unjust enrichment claims, finding, among other things, that the claimed trade dress was "a hodgepodge of unconnected pieces of its business, which together do not comprise any sort of composite visual effect". However, the court vacated the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees. Read update

30 Sep 2014

Go Voyages fails to prevent use of 'go' mark

Portugal - The Commerce Court of Lisbon has held that the mark GO ALENTEJO was not confusingly similar to Go Voyages SA's trademarks GO and GO VOYAGES, even though both marks covered the same services. The court concluded that the use of GO ALENTEJO was not liable to mislead consumers and, therefore, there was no unfair competition. Read update

29 Sep 2014

ECJ: verbal element of complex mark will not necessarily be dominant

European Union - In Società Italiana Calzature SpA v OHIM, the ECJ has upheld two decisions of the General Court finding that there was no likelihood of confusion between the figurative trademarks GIUSEPPE GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI DESIGN and GIUSEPPE BY GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI and earlier ZANOTTI marks. Among other things, the ECJ stated that there was no rule according to which a word element will be perceived as dominant in a complex trademark. Read update

29 Sep 2014

Federal Court finds SPIRIT BEAR official marks to be unenforceable

Canada - In Terrace (City) v Urban Distilleries Inc, the Federal Court has found that the plaintiffs had failed to provide evidence of use of the official marks SPIRIT BEAR in association with goods or services as of the relevant dates. Therefore, the official marks were unenforceable against Urban Distilleries, which manufactures spirits under the unregistered trademarks SPIRIT BEAR VODKA and SPIRIT BEAR GIN, among others. Read update

29 Sep 2014

Norwegian bank prohibited from using 'people' mark

Sweden - The Court of Appeals has prohibited Norwegian bank Folkia from using its trademark FOLKIA and any other name containing the term 'folk' ('people' in English), on the ground that there was a likelihood of confusion with Swedish company Folksam’s mark. Among other things, the court stated that, as short-term loan companies were an object for criticism, Folkia’s use of its mark was detrimental to Folksam. Read update

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