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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.

25 April 2006

USTR gives green light to Brazil's IP protection regime

The United States has informed the Brazilian authorities that investigations relating to intellectual property have been closed, in view of measures taken by Brazil since 2004. The announcement means that, for the time being, Brazil can continue to enjoy the benefits of the Generalized System of Preferences Programme.

24 April 2006

Candy wrapper mark application melts away

In August Storck KG v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, Advocate General Colomer has backed the European Court of First Instance's decision to refuse the plaintiff's application to register as a Community trademark the form and colour of the wrapper of a type of candy on the grounds that the proposed registration was devoid of distinctive character.

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.