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24 April 2006

SMARTSFP not distinctive

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has upheld a finding that the mark SMARTSFP is descriptive. The board clarified the relevant audience for the purposes of evaluating the distinctiveness of a mark and confirmed its willingness to take judicial notice of dictionary definitions when determining the meaning of a mark to that audience.

06 July 2006

New law implements IP Rights Enforcement Directive

Spanish Law 19/2006 of June 5 2006, which implements the provisions of the EU IP Rights Enforcement Directive into Spanish law, was published on June 6 2006 and immediately entered into force. In addition to improving IP right enforcement, the new law also lays down a number of rules of civil procedure.

04 July 2006

Panel disagree over fate of 'cooperator.ca'

A panel of the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre has ordered the transfer of the domain name 'cooperator.ca' to insurance company Cooperators Group Ltd. However, a dissenting panellist felt that the domain name was a generic term that should be kept free.

04 July 2006

Patent attorneys cannot cancel marks without instruction

On remand from the Highest Administrative Court, the District Administrative Court in Warsaw has ruled that a patent attorney firm may not apply, in its own name, for cancellation of a trademark. The court confirmed that patent attorney firms can act in such matters only with instruction from a named client.

04 July 2006

Union dissolution may affect trademark rights

The dissolution of the union of Serbia and Montenegro may have some impact on trademark rights. While registered trademarks remain valid in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, it is not unlikely that Montenegro will require a revalidation of rights at a later stage.

03 July 2006

New court rules put Anton Piller orders on the table

New sections of the Federal Court Rules, which provide for 'freezing orders' (Mareva orders) and 'search orders' (Anton Piller orders), have now come into effect. Anton Piller orders can be used by IP rights holders to prevent evidence such as infringing copies and electronic records being destroyed by infringers.

03 July 2006

Bad-faith MAINETTI registration hung out to dry

In a landmark decision, the Re-examination and Evaluation Board of the Turkish Patent Institute has upheld an opposition to the registration of the trademark MAINETTI in the name of a local company. Taking into consideration the opponent's foreign registrations for an identical or similar mark, the board held that the application had been filed in bad faith.

29 June 2006

Brewer can count on rights in '5000'

In Shaw Wallace & Co v Mohan Rocky Spring Water Breweries Ltd, the Bombay High Court has held that the numerical element '5000' constitutes an essential feature of the registered label mark HAYWARDS 5000 and, based on this registration, the plaintiff mark owner is entitled to prevent the defendant from selling beer under the marks PRESTIGE 5000 and FOUR SQUARE 5000.

28 June 2006

VOLVO mark on unauthorized spare parts is infringing

In Aktiebolaget Volvo v On Gal Ltd, the Tel Aviv District Court has held that the import and sale of spare parts for vehicles bearing the trademark VOLVO, where such parts are not authorized, constitute trademark infringement and passing off. The court dismissed the defendants' claim that they were entitled to use the VOLVO mark to show that their spare parts could be used for Volvo cars.

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.

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.

08 September 2006

KOPEIKA mark owner gets run for its money in cancellation backfire

The Chamber of Patent Disputes has cancelled the registration of the mark KOPEIKA (meaning 'kopeck', the subdivision of the rouble) for services relating to the provision of food and drink on the grounds that it was identical to the earlier mark KOPEIKA registered for similar services. The decision, which was reached following a counterclaim by the defendant, serves as a reminder that one should be careful in bringing a cancellation action.