Belgium

Developing new tech solutions to fix vulnerabilities: exclusive interview with AB InBev’s Pieter van den Bulck

WTR hears how Anheuser-Busch InBev stays ahead of the curve for global protection and the innovative technology it has developed.

Developing new tech solutions to fix vulnerabilities: exclusive interview with AB InBev’s Pieter van den Bulck
St Andrews Links Trust lands in trademark bunker; new Benelux online tools; Gleissner covid-19 donation – news digest
15 May 2020

St Andrews Links Trust lands in trademark bunker; new Benelux online tools; Gleissner covid-19 donation – news digest

In our latest edition, we look at Hard Rock International acquiring the rights to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the KIPO president getting dunked with flowers, and more.

Michael Gleissner versus Apple and Samsung: millionaire defeated in Benelux and UK
22 Nov 2019

Michael Gleissner versus Apple and Samsung: millionaire defeated in Benelux and UK

Two recent trademark cases in Benelux and the UK have landed significant blows to notorious millionaire Michael Gleissner’s unprecedented trademark activity. According to one expert, they clearly demonstrate that IP offices are “not a playground for vexatious parties”.

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30 Mar 2020

Benelux Trademark Attorney Firm of the Year: Arnold & Siedsma

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5 Mar 2020

Trademark procedures and strategies: Benelux

No separate trademark laws exist in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. Read more

15 Aug 2019

Belgian appeal court tosses SPA Mineral Water’s trademark infringement claims: third parties free to use and register SPA for cosmetic products

A groundbreaking decision of the Ghent Court of Appeal has significantly increased the chances for third parties to successfully register their SPA brand in Class 3 at the Benelux and EU level. Read more

29 Jul 2019

The top filers and a vision for the future: inside EUIPO operations

Less than a year into Christian Archambeau’s tenure as executive director, the EUIPO is laying the groundwork for future expansion. World Trademark Review’s annual focus on the office assesses current operations, reveals the most proactive filers and explores how the agency is taking a global view of trademarks. Read more

Anti-Counterfeiting

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25 Jun 2019

Plain packaging in Belgium, luxury brands on WeChat, and Nando’s defeathers lookalike: news digest

In our latest edition, we look at a major anti-counterfeiting operation from Interpol, Facebook facing challenges over its new cryptocurrency brand, Egypt updating its new anti-fakes legislation, and much more. Read more

29 Jan 2019

Prosecco GI dispute stalls trade deal, Brexit counterfeit fears, and new Benelux director general: news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at Swedish trademark legislation updating to align with the new EU directive, an controversial Oxford University trademark application, counterfeit wine in China, and much more. Read more

9 Nov 2018

Sweden to modernise trademark rules, new USPTO deputy director, and Benelux fee changes: news round-up

In our latest round-up, we look at a study showing the scale of illicit alcohol, a Counterfeit Mini ad being lauded, luxury brands' increasing use of sound design in their products, and much more. Read more

18 May 2017

Procedures and strategies for anti-counterfeiting: Belgium

Belgium is a party to all major international agreements in the IP field, including the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. In addition, the main substantive IP laws applicable in Belgium are contained in national laws, EU regulations and a Benelux convention.

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Brand management

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12 Sep 2018

Trademark procedures and strategies: Benelux

The Benelux Convention does not provide for protection of unregistered trademarks, the only exception being the protection of well-known marks as prescribed by the Paris Convention. Read more

3 Aug 2018

“Opportunistic filing after a disaster remains an issue” – MH370 rights shine spotlight on tragedy marks

Trademark departments have a key role to play in the wake of tragic events, with one expert telling us that defensive filings should be “a primary prevention tool” against opportunists

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Enforcement and Litigation

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23 Aug 2018

Making the right choice: an A-Z of EU trademark court practice and performance

In the first of our five-part series, trademark counsel from law firms across Europe provide an overview of the performance of their countries’ EU trademark courts over the past two years. Read more

16 Jul 2015

Court decides on protection afforded to greyscale trademarks

The Antwerp Commercial Court has held that, when assessing the similarity between a registered trademark and a sign in an infringement action, the trademark can be assessed only as registered (ie, greyscale in the present case). The court's reasoning with regard to the protection afforded to greyscale trademarks is debatable and is likely to be contradicted by higher courts.

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12 Dec 2014

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

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.

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11 Feb 2014

eBay's unlawful comparative advertising held not to amount to trademark infringement

In <i>Media Markt v eBay</i>, the Court of Appeal of Brussels has clarified that comparative advertising that uses a third-party trademark, but does not meet the requirements of comparative advertising, does not automatically constitute trademark infringement. Among other things, the court held that it was unlikely that eBay’s use of identical signs in relation to identical goods was likely to affect any of the trademarks’ functions.

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Government/Policy

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25 Feb 2019

UKIPO ranked most accessible IP office platform, as registries urged to improve website usability

New research from WTR has found that the IP offices of the UK, Brazil, Japan and Benelux have the most accessible website platforms for users, including those with motor or vision impairment. Read more

2 Oct 2018

“The EUIPO should lead on enforcement” – trademark community reacts to Archambeau appointment

National IP offices within the European Union, key trademark associations and leading filing law firms in the EU react to the appointment of Christian Archambeau as the new executive director of the EUIPO. Read more

IP Offices

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1 May 2019

Passing the baton: a new era at BOIP

As a new director general of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property takes over, a new era at the registry begins. To mark this change, representatives from the office look at what the future is likely to bring. Read more

Online

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19 Mar 2014

'.be' domain name holders may now request list of variations of their domain name

DNS Belgium, the registry responsible for the management of ‘.be’ domain names, has announced that it is now possible for holders of a ‘.be’ domain name to request a list of variations of their domain name. This service will allow domain name holders to identify where variants of their domain name have been registered and allow them to assess whether the listed registrations are problematic.

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14 Mar 2013

'.be' registry to allow IDNs

The Belgian registry, DNS.BE, has announced that it will allow the registration of IDNs under ‘.be’ in June. Importantly, there will not be a sunrise period to enable trademark holders to protect their IP rights in priority, nor will there be a grandfathering period to enable registrants of existing ‘.be’ domain names to register the corresponding IDNs.

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11 Feb 2011

Amended ADR rules for ‘.be’ ccTLD introduced

DNS.BE, the registry responsible for the administration of the Belgian country-code top-level domain, ‘.be’, has made a number of amendments to its alternative dispute resolution procedure, implemented on January 1 2011. The main amendment is that ‘.be’ complaint managers now have the possibility to notify parties if an error has been made in a complaint or a response.

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10 May 2010

DNS BE unblocks domain names

The Belgian domain name registry has released approximately 200,000 '.be' domain names which had previously been blocked from registration. The domain names had been made unavailable for registration as part of the globally coordinated response against the notorious Conficker worm.

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Portfolio Management

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16 Sep 2014

Gucci's international GG marks revoked in Benelux following 'harsh' decision

The Commercial Court of Brussels has ordered the revocation of Gucci’s international registrations for its GG mark in the Benelux on the ground of non-use. The court dismissed Gucci’s claim that use of its CTM could be considered as use of its international marks, finding that the CTM was not a modernised version of the international registrations. In view of previous EU and Belgian case law, this decision seems harsh.

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6 Jan 2014

Brussels Court of Appeal decides on Belgian beer battle

The Brussels Court of Appeal has held that Anheuser-Bush InBev had infringed a colour mark owned by Alken-Maes, one of Belgium's oldest breweries, by using the colour blue for its beer packaging. This ruling is the latest in a series of decisions in which the Belgian courts have ruled in favour of the owners of colour marks.

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2 Oct 2013

Use of 'OsCar' by insurance company held to infringe well-known OSCAR mark

The Court of Appeal has issued an injunction preventing Belgian bank and insurance company DVV from using the sign 'OsCar' in the course of trade, finding that it infringed the well-known CTM OSCAR of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. DVV had launched a <i>bonus-malus</i> system under the name OsCar, using the slogan “And the OsCar goes to…”.

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16 Jun 2011

Court annuls trademarks consisting of fictional brand of beer

The Brussels Commercial Court has annulled two DUFF BEER marks owned by Twentieth Century Fox. Duff beer is a fictional brand of beer in the television series <i>The Simpsons</i>. Arguably, it seems unfair that the owner of a trademark which is well known in relation to products from a virtual world remains unprotected against third parties which try to reap the benefit of the owner's investment.

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Trademark law

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20 Jul 2018

Well-known marks: approaches to fame in Europe

Obtaining well-known status for a trademark can be a powerful tool for rights holders. In the third of a three part series, this article considers the best route in key European jurisdictions Read more

26 Nov 2013

When can silence be taken as agreement to destruction of counterfeit goods?

The Brussels Court of First Instance has ruled that, where the period mentioned in Article 11 of the EU Customs Regulation (1383/2003) has expired and the declarant has not expressly opposed the simplified procedure (which enables the customs authorities to destroy the goods without formal IP infringement proceedings), its silence can be deemed as consent to use the simplified procedure, regardless of receipt of any formal notice.

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4 Mar 2013

Mock-ups no proper notification of repackaged pharmaceutical parallel imports

In <i>PI Pharma v Novartis</i>, the Brussels Court of Appeal has expressed its views on the notification obligation of parallel importers of repackaged pharmaceuticals. It ruled that PI Pharma had not properly notified Novartis, the holder of the VENORUTON mark, when it provided a blister and a two-dimensional mock-up of the outer packaging, rather than an actual sample, of the repackaged pharmaceutical as it would be presented on sale.

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9 Jan 2013

Unprotected products may be copied - but shop and website cannot be confusing

In <i>Cousins & Co v Melan</i>, the Mons Court of Appeal has confirmed that, where no IP right protects a product or service, unfair competition law may not be used to fill the gap. However, the court also confirmed that the related circumstances of the offer - here, the use of a similar website and shop - can be prohibited if they are likely to create confusion for consumers.

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Find an expert

Ik-Hyun Seo
Senior Partner
Seoul, South Korea
Cho & Partners