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05 October 2004

Vuitton fails to prevent use of monogram design

A district court in New York has denied Louis Vuitton's request for a preliminary injunction against the use of a "multi-coloured monogram against a white or black background" used on a competitor's handbags. The court held that Vuitton had not shown that consumers identified the use of all designs featuring multiple bright colours against a black or white background as exclusively emanating from Vuitton.

04 October 2004

Scope of protection for well-known marks clarified

The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a lower court's finding that a well-known mark can only be protected against the use of a similar or identical mark where that mark is being used for goods in a similar field to those covered by the well-known mark. It stated that the decision as to whether to grant protection to a well-known mark depends on the facts of the case.

29 September 2004

Swiss Smarties tube shape mark registration cancelled

The Civil Court of Lausanne has upheld Mars's invalidity action against Nestlé's Swiss national trademark registration for an undecorated tube shape used as packaging for its Smarties brand of confectionery. The court held, among other things, that tube shapes are basic shapes for packaging and should not be monopolized by a single party.

29 September 2004

McDonald's swallows up BIG MAK infringer - at last

In McDonald's Corporation v LC Big Mak Burger Inc, the Philippine Supreme Court has ruled that (i) the mark BIG MAK for hamburgers infringes McDonald's BIG MAC mark for the same goods, and (ii) the use of packaging similar to that of McDonald's constitutes unfair competition.

27 September 2004

GOATS ready to roam in the United States

Fairview Winery of South Africa and Bully Hill Vineyards Inc of New York have settled their dispute over the application by Fairview to register GOATS DO ROAM for wine, which Bully Hill had opposed. Fairview's US trademark problems are not over as its application to register GOAT-ROTI for wine has been opposed by an organization that protects French appellations of origin on the basis of the CÔTE RÔTIE name for wine.

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.