Unilever's interim injunction application rejected in detergents dispute


Unilever had been marketing detergents under the designation 'BIO-TEX' for a number of years and was the owner of a trademark registration for BIO-TEX from 1971. The product had the greatest market share for detergents in Denmark - approximately 18%. A market survey found that the name BIO-TEX was extremely well known by the public.

A competitor marketed detergents under the designation 'D'Or-Tex' using more or less the same colours as Unilever, which applied for an interim injunction in relation to the competing products for trademark violation and trade dress violation. The trademark D'OR-TEX had been registered since 1983, but had not been put into use before 2014.

In Unilever NV v Coop Danmark A/S (Case A-3-15, May 6 2015), the Maritime and Commercial Court found that the dominant part of the trademarks was their first syllables and that no risk of confusion existed between the trademarks, not even considering that BIO-TEX was a well-known trademark.

The court also found that the defendants had not violated Unilever's trade dress despite the fact that the defendants were using the same colours as Unilever, as the general packaging elements of the products expressed part of the professional universal language within that trade sector.

Mads Marstrand-Jørgensen, NJORD Law Firm, Copenhagen

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