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21 July 2004

Metatag use of trademark is not infringement, court rules

The Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf has ruled that the use of another party's mark in metatags neither infringes trademark rights nor violates unfair competition law. It reasoned that such use is not trademark use as, among other things, metatags are not (i) visible to internet users, and (ii) capable of characterizing either the company that is using them, or the goods and services sold by that company.

21 July 2004

New Board of Appeal rules implemented

Following on the heels of the implementation of the new Trademarks Act in Estonia, new Rules of the Board of Appeal of Industrial Property have also come into effect. The Board of Appeal hears appeals from decisions of the Patent Office and also conducts opposition proceedings. The rules set out the structure of the Board of Appeal and clarify its procedures.

16 July 2004

IOC wins gold in ‘Athens2004.org’ dispute

In Athens 2004 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games v Molloy, NAF panellist Carolyn Marks Johnson has ordered the transfer of ‘Athens2004.org’ to the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee. The decision confirms that Olympic committees can file joint UDRP complaints against a single registrant.

16 July 2004

MISTER NUT finds way around 'trademark use' definition

The Commercial Court has reversed a decision of the Chamber for Patent-Related Disputes that cancelled the mark MISTER NUT for non-use. The court held that the Italian owner had used the mark within the strict meaning of the law, even though it had neither distributed the goods directly in Russia nor obtained a valid licensing agreement with its Russian distributor.

14 July 2004

‘valiant.dk’ Case shows limits of free speech

A Danish Internet Forum panel has held in Vaillant A/S v Frederiksen that ‘valiant.dk’ infringed the complainant's VAILLANT trademark and trade name, even though the domain name was being used for a non-commercial criticism website. The panel held that the fact that a website contains derogatory content must be indicated in the domain name.

13 July 2004

VOLTERRA registered for energy services

The Federal Commission of Appeal for IP Rights has allowed the registration of VOLTERRA for services relating to energy generation and distribution. The commission held that although the mark was identical to the name of a well-known town in Italy, consumers would understand the mark to be an invented term and would not associate it with the Italian town.

12 July 2004

No new home for disputed ‘TahoeLuxuryProperties’ domain names

In Tahoe Luxury Properties Inc v Chase, WIPO panellist Jonathan Hudis has refused to order the transfer of ‘TahoeLuxuryProperties.com’ and ‘TahoeLuxuryProperties.info’ to the complainant on the grounds that it did not have trademark rights in the term ‘Tahoe Luxury Properties’. Hudis held that the claimed mark was a generic term or, at best, a descriptive mark lacking acquired distinctiveness.

09 July 2004

Stopping criticism site proves taxing for mark owner

In Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v McCauley, a WIPO panellist has refused to order the transfer of ‘hjta.com’ to the complainant - an association that claimed to have common law trademark rights in the acronym HJTA. He held that the complainant had failed to establish that the respondent had no legitimate interest in the domain name because it was being used solely for bona fide, non-commercial criticism.

09 July 2004

High Court halts application to adduce new evidence

The High Court of England and Wales has refused an application to (i) adduce new evidence, and (ii) amend the grounds of opposition in an appeal against a hearing officer’s decision to allow registration of the mark GOLDFISCHLI. The court held, among other things, that the issues raised had been conclusively decided at the earlier proceedings and could not be re-examined.

08 July 2004

Registrar bars Cadbury’s purple colour mark

In Cadbury Limited v Beacon Sweets and Chocolates (Pty) Ltd, the registrar of trademarks has refused to register a specific shade of purple as a trademark. The registrar held that the mark, in the form in which it was represented in the application, was not capable of distinguishing chocolate confectionary pursuant to Sections 9 and 10(2)(a) of the South African Trademarks Act.

06 July 2004

VIAGRA receives extended protection

A hearing officer at the Australian Trademarks Registry has allowed Pfizer Products Inc to extend its defensive registration for VIAGRA to include a large number of goods and services that were excluded from the original registration. The hearing officer held that the connection between the goods and services covered by the new application and Pfizer’s VIAGRA mark was sufficient to allow the broader coverage.

02 July 2004

Animal welfare protestors allowed to keep 'covancecampaign.com'

In Covance Inc v Covance Campaign, WIPO panellist Alistair Payne has refused to order the transfer of 'covancecampaign.com' to the complainant - a drug development company that owns the COVANCE mark. He held that the registrant, a UK-based animal rights activist group, was making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name to protest against the complainant.

02 July 2004

Novartis sees its shape mark registration upheld

In Novartis AG v Bausch & Lomb Inc, the Swiss Supreme Court has upheld the validity of Novartis’s three-dimensional trademark for the cog-wheel shape of a catalytic disc used as part of its contact lens cleaning system. It ruled that the shape is not determined exclusively by its technical function, noting, among other things, that a number of other shapes for catalytic discs are available.

08 October 2004

Investment advisor's infringement claim crashes

In Knight-McConnell v Cummins, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has dismissed claims that the defendant had infringed the plaintiff's trademark rights or engaged in unfair competition under the Lanham Act or common law by (i) linking her website to the plaintiff's site, and (ii) using the plaintiff's name in the post-domain path of a URL.

07 October 2004

Benetton's marks COLOR-fast against infringement action

The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that Benetton's COLORS series of trademarks for clothes do not infringe Dama SpA's rights in prior marks also containing the word 'colors' for similar products. The court held that (i) Dama's marks are combination marks, and (ii) such marks are infringed only when their various elements are reproduced in a confusingly similar combination, which was not the case with Benetton's marks.