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02 September 2010

Court of Appeal confirms that cachet is not necessary for extended passing off

In Diageo North America Inc v Intercontinental Brands (ICB) Limited, the Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision in which the latter had held that the sale of a non-vodka product under the name Vodkat constituted extended passing off. The Court of Appeal rejected an argument that only products with a cachet are capable of protection under the tort of passing off.

29 November 2010

First domain name decision issued under new ADR system

The Domain Disputes Committee of the Estonian Internet Foundation has issued its first decision in a case involving the domain name 'bang-olufsen.ee'. The committee ordered the transfer of the domain name to Bang & Olufsen A/S, finding, among other things, that it was confusingly similar to Bang & Olufsen's trademarks.

26 November 2010

New common IP rights database: any benefits for trademark owners?

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, seeking a way to protect IP rights more effectively, has issued a Regulation on a Common IP Rights Database. At first glance, the new database seems to benefit only owners of works protected under the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works. However, it may also have implications for owners of unconventional trademarks.

25 November 2010

Court refuses to prevent use of identical mark for dissimilar goods

The Delhi High Court has rejected Kamdhenu Ispat Ltd's request for a permanent injunction preventing Kamdhenu Pickles & Spices Ind Pvt Ltd from using the mark KAMDHENU. Among other things, the court found that the plaintiff had, at best, managed to establish a reputation with respect to steel bars. However, there was nothing to suggest that such a reputation extended to the goods manufactured by the defendant.

22 November 2010

CIRA panel rules that evidence of actual confusion is needed under CDRP

In a dispute involving the domain name 'autocan.ca', a CIRA panel has considered the test to determine whether a domain name is “confusingly similar” to a trademark under CIRA's Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. By setting an onus of actual confusion, the panel has rendered it exceedingly difficult for any complainant to establish confusing similarity under the policy.

15 November 2010

Rules applicable to '.fr' domain names found to be unconstitutional

The Constitutional Court has issued a decision calling for the complete redefinition of the existing French laws and regulations relating to domain names. Only a small number of laws and regulations relate directly to domain names, but the decision will nevertheless have wide implications for the legal framework as far as domain names are concerned.

13 December 2010

IP rights strategy listed in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan

The Chinese government has strengthened its commitment to the identification, growth and protection of intellectual property by listing IP rights as one of its areas of interest in the recently published 12th Five-Year Plan. With the implementation of this plan, there is no doubt that an already strong system will continue to fortify the rights of all IP owners, both foreign and domestic.

10 December 2010

Domain name decision improves online protection of IP rights

Bacardi, the owner of the MARTINI marks, has obtained three rulings in its favour with regard to the domain names 'mrtmartini.gr', 'martinicasual.gr' and 'martini.com.gr'. The National Telecommunications and Post Committee found that the domain names had been registered and were being used in bad faith, despite the existence of a settlement agreement allowing the registration of 'mrtmartini.gr'.

09 December 2010

OHIM Board of Appeal finds single-letter mark registrable

In Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, the Second Board of Appeal of OHIM has allowed the registration of the trademark W. The board followed the decision of the ECJ in OHIM v BORCO-Marken-Import Matthiesen GmbH & Co KG, which involved a mark consisting of the Greek letter 'α'.

03 December 2010

Figurative marks for wine similar due to strong phonetic similarity

In Codorniu Napa Inc v OHIM, the General Court has held that there was a likelihood of confusion between the trademark ARTESA NAPA VALLEY and the earlier trademark ARTESO, which both cover wines in Class 33. Among other things, the court recalled that there may be a likelihood of confusion between two signs even where the public perception is that the goods are produced in different places.

01 December 2010

Post-registration activity not to be taken into account in determining bad faith

In Warren Miller Entertainment Inc v Willi Vogl & Associates, a CIRA panellist has denied Warren Miller Entertainment Inc's request to transfer the domain name 'warrenmiller.ca'. Among other things, the panellist found that, as Willi Vogl & Associates had registered the domain name as a licensee of Warren Miller, the registration did not fall within any of the categories of bad faith.

09 November 2010

Passing-off claim fails due to lack of reputation in design

In Dadon-Yifrach v AT Snap Ltd, the Tel Aviv District Court has ruled that, although the defendants had, in effect, admitted to have copied the dress design of the plaintiff, the latter was not able to meet the evidentiary threshold required for establishing passing off since she could not prove that she had a reputation in the design. The plaintiff's claim for unjust enrichment also failed.

05 November 2010

Absolute ground for refusal under Article 7/1(b) interpreted narrowly

In a case involving an application for the registration of the mark DIVERSY, the Re-examination and Evaluation Board of the Patent Institute has interpreted Article 7/1(b) of the Trademark Decree Law in a narrow sense. This is a landmark decision, since many trademarks have remained unregistered due to the prevailing interpretation of Article 7/1(b).

02 November 2010

Drunk on incontestability: the Second Circuit says “not so fast”

In Federal Treasury Enterprise Sojuzplodoimport v Spirits International NV, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reversed the district court’s grant of a motion to dismiss trademark claims in a case involving the STOLICHNAYA marks for vodka. Among other things, the district court had erred in concluding that any recorded assignment of an incontestable registration cannot be challenged.

29 October 2010

Common element in composite mark held not to have independent distinctive role

The German Federal Supreme Court has overturned a decision of the Stuttgart Regional Court, holding that there was no likelihood of confusion between the mark MIXI and the composite mark KOHLERMIXI. The Supreme Court held that the common element 'mixi' could not give rise to a likelihood of confusion, as it did not have an independent distinctive role in the composite mark.