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01 July 2004

Microsoft changes strategy to settle trademark dispute

Microsoft has settled a trademark lawsuit filed against it by Mythic Entertainment. Mythic accused Microsoft's forthcoming game, Mythica, of infringing its name and trademark. Under the settlement Microsoft has agreed not to use the term 'Mythica' for future online games, and has dropped its application to register MYTHICA as a trademark.

01 July 2004

Opposition procedure introduced in Hungary

Significant amendments to the Hungarian Trademark Act 1997 have come into force following Hungary's accession to the European Union. They have brought into effect fundamental changes to the Hungarian trademark registration system, the most important of which is the introduction of an opposition procedure.

30 June 2004

ECJ rules on who decides when a mark becomes generic

In a case referred by the Swedish Court of Appeal, the ECJ has ruled that in determining whether a mark has become generic, the opinion of consumers and, depending on the features of the market concerned, all those in the trade who deal with the product commercially will be relevant. The court did not specify, however, in what circumstances the opinions of traders should not be considered.

30 June 2004

Eminem wins battle for 'eminemmobile.com'

US rapper Marshall Mathers III, better known as Eminem, has joined the list of entertainers who have used WIPO proceedings to shut down websites operated by cybersquatters. In Mathers v Mcintosh, WIPO panellist J Nelson Landry held that the respondent had engaged in cybersquatting by registering and using 'eminemmobile.com', even though the website eventually featured a disclaimer stating that it was not affiliated with Eminem.

29 June 2004

Nominet consults on dispute resolution service reform

Nominet has issued a consultation paper seeking the views of stakeholder groups on the proposed reform of its dispute resolution services. The proposals have already been considered by Nominet's body of DRS experts. The paper examines four main areas: appeals, tribute/criticism sites, web designer cases and the 'without prejudice' rule.

28 June 2004

Pfizer stands firm against use of TRIAGRA mark

In Pfizer Inc v Y2K Shipping & Trading Inc, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has granted summary judgment in favour of the plaintiff on its claims that, among other things, the defendant's use of TRIAGRA for a herbal erectile dysfunction remedy infringed its VIAGRA mark pursuant to the Lanham Act, New York state law and common law.

22 June 2004

Pending design applications may be converted to new act applications

Design applications pending when the Designs Act 2003 came into force on June 17 may be examined under the new statute rather than the Designs Act 1906. However, applicants may find it difficult to make a decision as to whether to convert their applications as each statute presents advantages and drawbacks. For instance, the new act provides a broader definition of infringement while the old act offers longer registration terms.

24 November 2004

TLDs get personal with the launch of '.pw'

A new top-level domain has been launched and is now available to the general public. Marketed as 'personal web', '.pw' is in fact the country-code top-level domain for Palau, a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is the Internet's first domain extension dedicated to consumer privacy.

23 November 2004

Hong Kong Trademarks Registry Work Manual revised

The Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department has made several important revisions to the Hong Kong Trademarks Registry Work Manual. It has added a section named Scope of searches - relative grounds for refusal that explains how the examiner assesses similarity between marks. An expanded section on absolute grounds for refusal gives additional information on Chinese characters and the distinctiveness test.

23 November 2004

Trademark owner triumphs in name dispute

A Brazilian court has held that the owner of a registered trademark is entitled to enjoy all rights associated with that registration, including use of the mark in a domain name. The court ordered Master Credi S/C Ltda to transfer a domain name containing the phrase "lago e ducca" to Lago & Ducca Indústria e Comércio, the registered owner of that phrase.

19 November 2004

Appeals on registration issues can bypass Board of Appeal

Two decisions issued by the Estonian courts indicate that, in most circumstances, an interested party may file an appeal against a Patent Office registration decision directly with the courts instead of the Board of Appeal. The rulings suggest that such appeals need only be filed with the Board of Appeal where the law clearly stipulates that this is necessary.

18 November 2004

Israel Sports Betting Board backs the winner in TOTO GOLD claim

In Toto Gold Subscribers Club Ltd v Israel Sports Betting Board, the Israeli Supreme Court has upheld the Jerusalem District Court's ruling that, among other things, the use of TOTO GOLD in respect of games of chance infringed the trademark TOTO. Although the Supreme Court treated TOTO as generic, it affirmed that a generic mark may be registered upon proof of acquired secondary meaning.

11 November 2004

BIN LADIN stays on Swiss register

The Swiss Federal Commission of Appeal for IP Rights has overturned a decision of the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property that revoked the registration of the Swiss trademark BIN LADIN. The commission held that (i) there was no legal basis for allowing the revocation of a duly registered trademark, and (ii) BIN LADIN was neither offensive nor did it affect Switzerland's reputation.

10 November 2004

University president fails in UDRP case against criticism site

In Ladner v Wetmore, a three-member NAF panel has refused to order the transfer of 'BenLadner.com', used for a criticism site, to Benjamin Ladner - the president of Washington DC-based American University. The panel held that Ladner did not have sufficient trademark rights in his name to prevail against the registrant under the UDRP.

13 September 2004

Compensation for BMW in mobile phone logo infringement case

In Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v Cellus Norge AS, the Oslo City Court has ruled that the defendant's sale of logos and wallpapers for mobile phones that included the plaintiff's famous BMW logo infringed the plaintiff's trademark rights. The court accepted the defendant's proposal that it pay Nkr20,000 in compensation to the plaintiff.