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03 December 2009

Alteration of playing cards does not amount to trademark infringement

The Supreme Court has held that the alteration and sale of trademarked playing cards did not amount to trademark infringement. The defendants purchased genuine cards and then used invisible dye to write the suits and numbers on the back of the cards, so that players wearing special contact lenses can read the details of the cards. The court concluded that these changes did not affect the function of the trademark as a source identifier.

01 December 2009

Application for cancellation dismissed in golfers' playoff

In South African Junior Golf Association v The Registrar of Companies, the Western Cape High Court has dismissed the South African Golf Association's application for the cancellation of the South African Junior Golf Association's trademark SOUTH AFRICAN JUNIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION. Among other things, the court stated that the two bodies did not render the same service.

30 November 2009

KLINTEX and CLITEX held to be confusingly similar

The Ministry of Commerce has upheld a decision of the Venezuelan Trademark Office in which the latter had refused to register the trademark KLINTEX on the grounds that there was a likelihood of confusion with the trademark CLITEX. The ministry rejected the argument that both marks could coexist on the market because KLINTEX is used for cleaning products, while CLITEX is used for pharmaceuticals and perfumes.

27 November 2009

First Amendment not a defence to infringement by innuendo, says court

In Pfizer Inc v Sachs, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has granted Pfizer Inc's motion for summary judgment on its trademark infringement and dilution claims against an advertiser who had used the VIVA VIAGRA mark on a decommissioned missile. The court found that the advertiser's use of VIVA VIAGRA was not protected under the First Amendment.

23 November 2009

GOTTHARD held to be invalid for fuels

The Swiss Federal Court has upheld a decision of the Superior Court of the Canton of Uri in which the latter had found that the trademark GOTTHARD for fuels was invalid. Among other things, the Swiss Federal Court agreed with the lower court that the word 'Gotthard' could serve to designate the geographical origin of the goods.

19 November 2009

Transliteration of mark into another language does not warrant ownership

In Australian Medic-Care Company Ltd v Hamilton Pharmaceutical Pty Limited, the Federal Court has explored the issue of whether the sole distributor of certain pharmaceutical products was entitled to retain ownership of registered Chinese marks consisting of transliterated Chinese characters of the English product names. The court concluded that the Chinese marks were the distributor's own creations.

19 November 2009

Board of Appeal decision annulled in AGILE Case

In Peek & Cloppenburg v OHIM, the CFI has annulled a decision of the Second Board of Appeal of OHIM in which the latter had found that there was no likelihood of confusion between the figurative trademark AGILE for sports equipment and clothing, and the earlier mark AYGILL for identical goods.

28 September 2009

Puma defeated in 'copycat' shoe case

In Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport v Global Warming (Pty) Limited, the Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport's appeal against a decision of the High Court in a case involving Global Warming (Pty) Limited's use of a stripe device and the words 'DT New York' on a sports shoe. The case raises serious questions as to the protection available to device marks in South Africa.

25 September 2009

Hermès fails to prove infringement of rights in Birkin bag

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court has issued two decisions in cases involving Hermès International SA's rights in the Birkin bag. In both cases, the court held that the bags imported by the defendants did not infringe Hermès's copyright and trademark rights in the Birkin bag.

24 September 2009

Registrant forced to relinquish domain name despite rights in mark

In Masstores (Pty) Ltd v Dore (Revolutionary Marketing CC), an adjudicator at the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law has ruled that the registration of 'gardenmaster.co.za' was abusive despite the fact that the registrant had been using the trademark GARDENMASTER for longer than the complainant.

21 September 2009

MARNI and MANI can coexist, says Supreme Court

In Marni International SA v Department of Intellectual Property, the Supreme Court of Thailand has held that Marni International SA's trademark MARNI could coexist with Armani's earlier registered trademark MANI under Section 27(1) of the Trademark Act 1991. The decision is significant in that it provides a clear interpretation of Section 27(1).

18 September 2009

Supreme Court cancels Lego's 3D mark

The German Federal Supreme Court has affirmed decisions of the Federal Patent Court in which the latter had ordered that Lego Group's three-dimensional trademark for its toy brick be cancelled. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court's finding that the shape of the Lego brick was functional under Section 3(2)(2) of the Trademark Act.

18 September 2009

ECJ ruling raises questions over GI protection for 'Bud'

In the long-running dispute between Czech brewer Budĕjovický Budvar, národní podnik, the producer of Budweiser Budvar and Budĕjovický Budvar beer, and Rudolf Ammersin GmbH, which markets American Bud beer produced by US brewer Anheuser-Busch, the ECJ has issued its latest ruling on the protection of the designation 'Bud' as a geographical indication.

01 September 2009

Goods in transit are not 'counterfeit', says court

In Nokia v Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the High Court of England and Wales has held, albeit reluctantly, that allegedly counterfeit goods which are in transit through the European Union cannot be seized as long as the goods are not destined for the EU market.

31 July 2009

Anti-piracy and counterfeiting working group established

Slovenia has established an inter-sectoral working group for the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. The aim is to promote greater cooperation between the various state authorities that are involved in the enforcement of IP rights. One of the tasks of the working group is to raise the level of protection of IP rights.