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20 June 2006

Practice changes announced

The New Zealand Intellectual Property Office has recently changed its practice regarding its requirement for a colour limitation for series mark applications, and has also revised its policy in relation to the correction of priority details for convention applications. The change to the series mark colour limitation follows a review of international best practice.

19 June 2006

Tesco decision may pose more questions than it answers

The High Court of England and Wales has granted Tesco Stores summary judgment on its trademark infringement and passing off claims against Elogicom Limited. However, the route taken by the court to reach its verdict may pose more questions than it answers. Among other things, the basis of its finding under Section 10(2)(b) in respect of similarity of services appears to set the hurdle for similarity of services at an extraordinarily low level.

15 June 2006

ACIP issues review of trademark and business identifier laws

The Australian Advisory Council on Intellectual Property has issued its review of the relationship between trademarks and business, company and domain names. The review highlights that the lack of overall understanding of these identifiers leads to "expensive legal disputes, gross misconceptions and commercial uncertainty", and recommends a number of significant structural and procedural changes.

14 June 2006

'.in' Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy issued

India has introduced a dispute resolution policy for the '.in' country-code top-level domain. The new '.in' Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and the Rules of Procedure are based primarily on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.

25 September 2006

New guidelines for coexistence agreements issued

The Andean Court of Justice has issued guidelines on the operation of coexistence agreements within the Andean Community. The court stated, among other things, that the parties executing a coexistence agreement must include wording clearly establishing how confusion to consumers will be prevented.

22 September 2006

Foreign consumers key to well-known status analysis

In holding that a mark comprising of the Korean or English transliteration of an earlier Japanese character mark should be invalidated, a court in Korea has ruled that "under Article 7(1)(xii) of the Trademark Act, the well-known status of a cited mark should be judged based upon the well-known status thereof among foreign consumers".

22 September 2006

Shoe sole case follows in Henkel's footsteps

Although supported by evidence of use, an application by Vans Inc to register a waffle pattern for shoe soles has been rejected by the registrar of trademarks. However, the case established that such marks may be registrable, provided that they contain distinctive elements or have acquired distinctive character through use.

20 September 2006

Complaint must be translated where no local representative

The County Court of Harju has confirmed that if an action is brought against a foreign company which does not have a local representative, the plaintiff must translate the complaint in accordance with Council Regulation 1348/2000. The order arose following Red Bull GmbH's opposition to the registration of the mark RED DRAGON (and device) on the grounds that it was too similar to its famous RED BULL marks.

19 September 2006

JOHNNIE WALKER bottle shape is registrable

The Twelfth Collegiate Circuit Court for Administrative Matters of the First Circuit has affirmed a decision of the Federal Court for Fiscal and Administrative Justice which held that Diageo Brands BV was entitled to register the three-dimensional shape and design of its JOHNNIE WALKER whisky bottle. The court dismissed the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property's appeal on procedural grounds.

18 September 2006

Goldman Sachs banks 'goldmansex.com' transfer

A National Arbitration Forum panel has ordered the transfer of the 'goldmansex.com' domain name to prominent global investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The domain name had been registered by a Dutch entity for a "'yellow pages' type directory for clubs and escort agencies".

13 September 2006

Swiss government settles disputes over domain names

The Swiss Confederation has settled a dispute with the registrant of the domain names 'schweiz.ch', 'suisse.ch' and 'svizzera.ch' (which mean 'Switzerland' in German, French and Italian respectively). A World Intellectual Property Organization panellist had ordered the transfer of the domain names in May but the registrant had subsequently filed proceedings in court.

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.