Puma fights back in stripe case
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The Maritime and Commercial Court has issued its decision in Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport v Netto A/S (October 24 2008).
Puma AG is the owner of two Danish registrations for device marks used for the decoration of shoes in Class 25 of the Nice Classification. The marks consist of a stripe split into three tracks by dotted lines, which runs from the middle of the shoe's sole, turns backwards and then upwards with a narrowing towards the back end of the shoe. Puma has extensively marketed shoes with stripes on their sides.
Major Danish retail chain Netto A/S has sold, among other things, approximately 8,000 pairs of shoes bearing a side decoration. Puma filed suit against Netto, alleging that these shoes violated its trademark rights.
In its defence, Netto referred to the November 20 2007 Supreme Court decision in Coop Norden v Puma AG (515/2005). In that case, the court had stated that Puma's shoes were fashion articles with little distinctiveness which were protected only against slavish imitation. As Coop Norden's shoes differed from Puma's shoes in several ways, the court had found that Coop had not been acting contrary to good marketing practice (for further details please see “Damages recouped by Coop in device mark case”).
In the present case, the Maritime and Commercial Court found that there was a risk of confusion between the shoes and consequently ruled that Netto had violated Puma’s trademark rights. Netto was ordered to pay Dkr200,000 in damages for lost sales, disturbance of the market and fair compensation, plus an additional Dkr27,500 in costs.
Mads Marstrand-Jorgensen, Norsker & Co, Copenhagen
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