Damages recouped by Coop in device mark case


In Coop Norden v Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport (515/2005, November 20 2007), the Danish Supreme Court has ruled that Coop Norden had not violated Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport's device mark.

Puma is the owner of a registered device mark used for the decoration of shoes. The device mark consists of a stripe split into three tracks by dotted lines that runs from the middle of the shoe's sole, turns backwards and then upwards with a narrowing towards the end of the shoe.

In 2002 and 2003 Coop, a major Scandinavian chain of supermarkets, sold shoes with a side decoration which was parted into two tracks and, as opposed to the stripe on the Puma shoes, had an extra branch which ran from the middle of the shoe up to the shoelaces.

Puma sued Coop claiming that it had violated Puma's device mark and acted contrary to good marketing practice.

The Maritime and Commercial Court found in favour of Puma and ordered Coop to pay DKR350,000 in damages.

The Supreme Court found in favour of Coop. The Supreme Court stated that decoration along the sides of sports and leisure shoes is common; in considering the scope of protection, it is important not to prevent other businesses from using such decoration any more than is necessary. The court further stated that the decoration on Coop's shoes differed sufficiently from Puma's stripe to ensure that there was no risk of confusion or association with Puma. Consequently, Coop had not violated Puma's trademark.

The court also stated that Puma's shoes appeared as fashion articles with little distinctiveness and, according to the Marketing Practices Act, were protected only against slavish imitation. As Coop's shoes differed from Puma's shoes in several ways, the court also found that Coop had not been acting contrary to good marketing practice.

Mads Marstrand-Jorgensen, Norsker & Co, Copenhagen

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