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25 May 2006

Cold water poured on AQUA infringement claim

In Aqua-Leisure Industries Inc v Impag Toys Europe BV, a Hong Kong court of first instance has dismissed the plaintiff's trademark infringement claim under the old Trademarks Ordinance on the grounds that the plaintiff's AQUA mark lacked the required distinctiveness to qualify as a trademark in respect of swimming products.

23 May 2006

Sun sets on ROYAL BUSINESS trademark

The Chilean Trademark Office has refused to allow the registration of the mark ROYAL BUSINESS. It held that the mark was likely to cause confusion with an earlier ROYAL & SUN ALLIANCE trademark, noting that the 'ROYAL' element of the earlier mark has a prominent connection to the opponent, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group PLC.

23 May 2006

Coexistence agreement is no block on APPLE marks for music download

The High Court of England and Wales has handed down its decision in the latest round of a long-running battle between Apple Corps and Apple Computer Inc. The court held that Apple Computer had not breached the coexistence agreement in place between the parties and could accordingly continue to use its apple logo in relation to its iTunes music store and download service.

19 May 2006

Author's rights drive transfer of domain names

The Paris Appeals Court has confirmed that the title of a software program can be protected as a literary and artistic work, provided that it is original. In so doing, the court enforced the protection of the name of a software program entitled 'Carview', and ordered the transfer of 'carview.com' and 'carview.fr' to the company exploiting the software.

18 May 2006

First '.eu' ADR decision issued

The first decision under the '.eu' arbitration rules has been published. The '.eu' alternative dispute resolution panel found that the '.eu' registrar, EURid, had not erred in allowing the registration of the domain name 'pst.eu' based on a provisional Benelux trademark registration, even though the complainant had lodged an opposition against that trademark registration.

16 May 2006

Timeframe for assessment of scope of protection confirmed

In Levi Strauss & Co v Casucci SpA, the European Court of Justice has confirmed the relevant timeframe for assessing whether a sign infringes a registered mark. It held that in determining the scope of protection of a mark which has been lawfully acquired, a court must take into account the relevant public's perception of the mark at the time when the allegedly infringing use of the sign began.

11 May 2006

Bausch & Lomb Case may lead to increase in litigation in China

Bausch & Lomb has filed a lawsuit with the Shanghai First Intermediate People's Court against three optical companies for trademark infringement. Bausch & Lomb claims that the first defendant registered its trade name, USA Bausch & Lomb Limited, in Hong Kong in bad faith. If the court finds in Bausch & Lomb's favour, it is likely that a number of similar cases will be brought to the Chinese courts.

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.