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09 June 2006

Auto Prix trade name protected in Quebec

In 9055-6473 Quebec Inc v Montréal Auto Prix Inc, the Quebec Court of Appeal has ruled on two appeals involving used vehicle retailers, all of which included the terms 'Auto' and 'Prix' as part of their respective trade names. The decision confirms the enforceability of unregistered trademarks or trade names through extensive use and advertisement.

09 June 2006

Draft memorandum has goal of curbing sale of counterfeit goods

The Thai Ministry of Commerce has drafted a new Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation in Suppression of Sales of Infringing Products. The memorandum supplements an earlier version and seeks to coordinate the efforts of the private sector, policy agencies and law enforcement bodies to counter sales of counterfeit and pirate goods in otherwise legitimate shopping centres.

07 June 2006

Lego knocks down cancellation claim against brick device marks

The Administrative Court of First Instance of Athens has reversed an earlier decision to cancel several device mark registrations depicting Lego bricks. Dismissing the action filed by Lego Group's Canadian rival Ritvik Holdings Inc, the court held that the marks in question were neither functional, nor common and have retained their distinguishing ability throughout their longstanding use in the Greek market.

06 June 2006

Descriptiveness of name no bar to passing off action

In Phones 4u Ltd v Phone4u.co.uk Internet Ltd, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales has overturned an earlier ruling and has allowed an appeal on a passing off claim made by Phones 4u Ltd against a company that had registered the domain name 'phone4u.co.uk'. The appellate court held that the lower court had incorrectly applied the distinctiveness test to the passing off action.

04 May 2006

ELIZABETH EMANUEL Case helps to fashion trademark law

In Emanuel v Continental Shelf 128 Ltd, the European Court of Justice has clarified the interpretation of Articles 3(1)(g) and 12(2)(b) of the Community Trademark Directive. The former outlines circumstances in which a trademark is likely to deceive the public, while the latter provides for revocation of marks which have, since registration, become liable to cause such deception.

03 May 2006

Gillette brushes DR. ORAL mark off register

The Iranian Supreme Court has ordered the cancellation of the mark DR. ORAL for toothbrushes on the grounds that it is confusingly similar to Gillette's ORAL-B mark for the same type of products. The court dismissed claims that the 'DR.' and '-B' elements prevented any likelihood of confusion between the marks.

28 April 2006

LENDING TREE judicial review application refused

In LendingTree LLC v Attorney General of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada has refused an application for judicial review - brought by the opponent to the registration of the trademark LENDING TREE - against a Trademark Opposition Board notice allowing the trademark applicant to amend the name set out in the application. The court ruled that the opponent would be able to raise this issue during the opposition itself.

27 April 2006

Violation of settlement agreement warrants damages and fees award

In A1 Mortgage Corp v A1 Mortgage & Financial Services LLC, the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has held that the defendant's use of the domain name 'A1Mortgage.com' violated the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. In light of the defendant's violation of an earlier settlement agreement, the court also ordered the defendant to pay statutory damages and attorneys' fees - both extraordinary remedies.

25 April 2006

USTR gives green light to Brazil's IP protection regime

The United States has informed the Brazilian authorities that investigations relating to intellectual property have been closed, in view of measures taken by Brazil since 2004. The announcement means that, for the time being, Brazil can continue to enjoy the benefits of the Generalized System of Preferences Programme.

24 April 2006

Candy wrapper mark application melts away

In August Storck KG v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, Advocate General Colomer has backed the European Court of First Instance's decision to refuse the plaintiff's application to register as a Community trademark the form and colour of the wrapper of a type of candy on the grounds that the proposed registration was devoid of distinctive character.

24 April 2006

SMARTSFP not distinctive

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has upheld a finding that the mark SMARTSFP is descriptive. The board clarified the relevant audience for the purposes of evaluating the distinctiveness of a mark and confirmed its willingness to take judicial notice of dictionary definitions when determining the meaning of a mark to that audience.

20 April 2006

Use of Christmas tree shape cut back by High Court

In Julius Sämann Ltd v Tetrosyl Ltd, the High Court of England and Wales has ruled that the shape of an everyday object registered as a trademark may be infringed by use of a conceptually similar but visually different depiction of that same object. In so doing, the court held that the use of a Christmas tree shape for an air freshener infringed the rights of the owner of a fir tree shape mark for the same type of goods.

11 April 2006

Landmark building protected by trademark law

The Taiwanese Intellectual Property Office has issued an opinion recognizing that the owners of the Taipei 101 building, the tallest building in the world, have exclusive rights in the use of the configuration of the building based upon a three-dimensional mark registration in various classes of the Nice Classification.

07 April 2006

Use of identical word in ad campaign for identical services is fair

The Venezuelan antitrust and unfair competition authority has rejected a complaint against the use by Telcel of the Spanish personal pronoun 'me' in an advertising campaign. The authority found, among other things, that while Telcel's use of the pronoun held some similarities with the complainant's use of the same pronoun in its campaign for identical services, graphical elements precluded any likelihood of confusion.

04 April 2006

Interim provisions on cooperation against criminal infringement issued

The Economic Crime Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China and the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce have drafted Interim Provisions on Strengthening the Coordination and Cooperation on the Suppression of Trademark Infringement Crimes. Among other things, the interim provisions set out how the two bodies will cooperate in acting against criminal infringement.