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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.

03 April 2006

Parallel import of HABANOS cigars smoked by High Court

In Mastercigars Direct v Hunters & Frankau Limited, the High Court of England and Wales has ruled that Mastercigars Direct's importation of HABANOS-marked cigars infringed the mark owner's rights. The court refused to accept that a history of earlier consignments successfully imported by Mastercigars was sufficient to show a previous course of dealing and thus consent on the part of the mark owner.

31 March 2006

Unintentional infringement no defence to parallel import claim

In Sun Microsystems Inc v AMTEC Computer Corporation Ltd, the High Court of England and Wales has ruled that although it was prepared to accept that the defendant's parallel import of goods bearing the plaintiff's trademarks was not intentional infringement, the plaintiff was still entitled to injunctive relief. However, the court noted that, in such circumstances, a plaintiff is not entitled to unqualified relief.

14 October 2005

'.eu' sunrise period launch announced

EURid, the official registry for the '.eu' domain, has at last announced the date for the launch of the sunrise period for '.eu' domains: December 7 2005. The sunrise period, giving holders of prior rights the opportunity to register first, will last for four months and take place in two phases, each lasting for two months. Open registrations on a first come, first served basis will begin on April 7 2006.

12 October 2005

NECVOX deceptively similar to NEC marks

In NEC Corporation v Punch Video (S) Pte Limited, the Federal Court of Australia has overturned a decision of the delegate of the registrar of trademarks to allow registration of the mark NECVOX in stylized letters for goods in Class 9 of the Nice Classification. The court held that the mark was deceptively similar to a number of NEC Corporation's marks.

11 October 2005

First renewal of Community trademarks fast approaching

The OHIM has started issuing reminder notices regarding the start of the Community trademark renewal process. The six-month window for requesting renewals of marks with a filing date that falls within the month of April 1996, the month in which the first Community trademarks were registered, begins on November 1 2005 and lasts until April 30 2006.

07 October 2005

No exclusive right in 'Tele' or 'Data' for logo mark owner

The Supreme Court has refused Tele & Data ApS's claim for an order prohibiting Birk El Service ApS from using a registered mark and unregistered company name featuring the words 'Tele' and 'Data'. The court ruled that despite the existence of Tele & Data's own registered TELE & DATA logo mark and company name, it did not have an exclusive right to use the terms 'Tele' and 'Data' as they are commonly used in the trade.

06 October 2005

Preventing use of unregistered marks by ex-licensees now easier

The Delhi High Court has rendered a significant judgment protecting the interests of foreign licensors in respect of unregistered trademarks licensed to Indian entities. The court held that a licensor is not required to prove transborder reputation or satisfy the conditions of a passing off action to prevent a licensee (of an unregistered mark) from using the mark after the termination of a licence agreement.

03 October 2005

Use by subsidiary not sufficient to keep XTREME on register

The registrar of trademarks has ordered the expungement of the mark XTREME on the basis that use of the mark had not been evidenced in accordance with the requirements of Section 45 of the Canadian Trademarks Act. The decision hinged on whether use of the mark by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the registrant would be considered use in Canada by the registrant.