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21 March 2006

Refusal of AOL's INSTANT MESSENGER marks overturned

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has reversed a decision to refuse registration for a series of four marks containing the term 'INSTANT MESSENGER'. The TTAB held that the applicant, America Online Inc, had provided sufficient evidence to (i) rebut the examining attorney's prima facie case that the marks were generic, and (ii) establish that the marks had acquired distinctiveness.

17 March 2006

Debenhams roars to victory in TIGERLILY Case

The registrar of trademarks has allowed the registration of the mark TIGERLILY for goods in Class 25 of the Nice Classification. The registrar concluded that the mark was unlikely to cause confusion with the prior registered marks TIGER ASICS CORPORATION, ASICS TIGER and ASICS TIGER (and cross line device) used for goods in the same class.

16 March 2006

Patent decision clarifies rules of procedure for all IP litigation

In a recently published decision, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has clarified (i) the standards applicable to courts when providing the reasons for the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction, and (ii) issues relating to the use of expert evidence, particularly in cases of a highly technical nature. Although the court's decision related to a patent, the principles that it established are applicable to all types of industrial property right.

16 March 2006

OHIM Board of Appeal incorrect to bring opposition to an end

In Dami v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has overturned an OHIM Board of Appeal's decision, in which it interpreted a joint application to stay an opposition proceeding as a withdrawal of the opposition. Among other things, the court held that the board's assertion that the parties had expressed a common intention of bringing the proceedings to an end had no factual basis.

15 March 2006

New procedure allowing objection to company names on its way

The Company Law Reform Bill has had its second reading before the House of Lords and will now go to a Grand Committee for debate. Among other things, the bill proposes a new right to object to a company name on the basis of goodwill in an identical or similar name. It will mean that a party may be able to force a company to change its name, without the need to litigate.

14 March 2006

Copyright may help to prevent parallel imports

In Euro Excellence Inc v Kraft Canada Inc, the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court's decision to stop the importation of grey market chocolate bars. The case marks a distinct shift in the Canadian courts' approach to grey market imports and suggests that IP right owners may be better off relying on copyright rather than their trademark registrations when seeking to prevent parallel imports.

13 March 2006

Changes to TTAB proceedings mooted

The US Patent and Trademark Office is seeking comments on a proposed amendment to the rules for Trademark Trial and Appeal Board inter partes proceedings. Among other things, the proposed amendment would see the TTAB adopt a modified version of the initial disclosure requirement set out in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, reducing the number of interrogatories permitted.

08 March 2006

Community 2-D mark refused despite German registration

The European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to refuse Henkel KGaA's application to register the shape of a multi-coloured dishwasher tablet as a Community two-dimensional device mark. The court's decision contrasts with that of the German Federal Patent Court, which allowed registration of an identical mark in 1999.

02 March 2006

Prestige of Custo brand prevents unauthorized registration

The Colombian Trademark Office has denied registration to the mark CUSTO on the basis that the mark was confusingly similar to, among other things, the name of designer Angel-Custodio Dalmau Salmons. The Trademark Office considered the fame of the designer as a notorious fact that did not require evidence.

01 March 2006

Blow for Budvar in BUDWEISER battle

The Court of Appeal in Stockholm has issued a ruling in the long-running global battle between Czech brewer Budĕjovický Budvar NP and US rival Anheuser-Busch Inc. The court held that while the Czech company cannot use BUDWEISER as a trademark in Sweden, it can use the mark BUDVAR for its beer.

28 February 2006

Jeans counterfeiter hit with severe penalties

A Russian court has condemned the director of an entity involved in counterfeiting various fashion trademarks to 18 months in prison and has ordered the destruction of the seized items, worth Rb2.5 million (around $90,000). The criminal proceedings were initiated by the police as the damages incurred by the mark owners fell within the definition of 'severe damages'.

27 February 2006

Special legislation blocks ambush marketing at Winter Olympics

A new law was implemented to fight ambush marketing at the Winter Olympic Games that have just taken place in Turin. Under the law, only three official Olympic committees and agencies are allowed to use the Olympic symbols, as well as third parties that have obtained written authorization to do so from the International Olympic Committee.

27 February 2006

New law provides administrative enforcement remedies

The Intellectual Property Law, which will take effect from July 1 2006, was promulgated on December 12 2005. The new law addresses, among other things, issues of enforcement of IP rights through administrative remedies. The main remedies for rights holders that can be applied against infringers are warnings and monetary fines.

22 February 2006

Canadian company's opposition thrown out on grounds of fraud

In its first citable decision of 2006, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has dismissed an opposition filed by a Canadian company against an application brought by Toyota for the mark TUNDRA for "automobiles and structural parts thereof". Notably, the board also cancelled the Canadian company's registrations for TUNDRA upon finding that it had committed fraud in obtaining its three registrations for the mark.

21 February 2006

Companies within same group cannot hold confusingly similar marks

The Colombian Trademark Office has issued a resolution clarifying that identical or confusingly similar trademarks cannot be registered in the names of separate companies within the same corporate group. The trademark office stated that the use of identical or similar marks by such companies should be established through licensing.