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10 July 2006

Sweet shape mark applications leave bitter taste

In August Storck KG v OHIM, the European Court of Justice has upheld the decisions of the OHIM to reject applications to register the shape of a light brown sweet - a round form with a top rim and a crater-shaped pit in the middle - and the two-dimensional image of a sweet wrapping. The court held that both marks lacked inherent and acquired distinctiveness.

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.

21 March 2006

Refusal of AOL's INSTANT MESSENGER marks overturned

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has reversed a decision to refuse registration for a series of four marks containing the term 'INSTANT MESSENGER'. The TTAB held that the applicant, America Online Inc, had provided sufficient evidence to (i) rebut the examining attorney's prima facie case that the marks were generic, and (ii) establish that the marks had acquired distinctiveness.

17 March 2006

Debenhams roars to victory in TIGERLILY Case

The registrar of trademarks has allowed the registration of the mark TIGERLILY for goods in Class 25 of the Nice Classification. The registrar concluded that the mark was unlikely to cause confusion with the prior registered marks TIGER ASICS CORPORATION, ASICS TIGER and ASICS TIGER (and cross line device) used for goods in the same class.

16 March 2006

Patent decision clarifies rules of procedure for all IP litigation

In a recently published decision, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has clarified (i) the standards applicable to courts when providing the reasons for the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction, and (ii) issues relating to the use of expert evidence, particularly in cases of a highly technical nature. Although the court's decision related to a patent, the principles that it established are applicable to all types of industrial property right.

16 March 2006

OHIM Board of Appeal incorrect to bring opposition to an end

In Dami v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has overturned an OHIM Board of Appeal's decision, in which it interpreted a joint application to stay an opposition proceeding as a withdrawal of the opposition. Among other things, the court held that the board's assertion that the parties had expressed a common intention of bringing the proceedings to an end had no factual basis.

15 March 2006

New procedure allowing objection to company names on its way

The Company Law Reform Bill has had its second reading before the House of Lords and will now go to a Grand Committee for debate. Among other things, the bill proposes a new right to object to a company name on the basis of goodwill in an identical or similar name. It will mean that a party may be able to force a company to change its name, without the need to litigate.

14 March 2006

Copyright may help to prevent parallel imports

In Euro Excellence Inc v Kraft Canada Inc, the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court's decision to stop the importation of grey market chocolate bars. The case marks a distinct shift in the Canadian courts' approach to grey market imports and suggests that IP right owners may be better off relying on copyright rather than their trademark registrations when seeking to prevent parallel imports.