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09 June 2011

FOIA trumps government interest in non-disclosure of information

In Watkins v US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has considered an appeal seeking access to notices issued by the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection of that agency’s seizure of goods bearing possibly counterfeit imitations of marks owned by the recipients of the notices.

02 March 2011

Turtle v Tata online game: use of logo does not constitute infringement

In Tata Sons Limited v Greenpeace International, the Delhi High Court has rejected Tata Sons Limited’s application for an interim injunction preventing Greenpeace International from using Tata’s ‘T’ device in an online game. Among other things, the court held that Greenpeace’s use of the logo to criticise Tata’s deep-sea port project did not amount to infringement.

01 March 2011

Court confirms important principle on revocation of marks with a reputation

The Court of Milan has confirmed an important principle concerning the possible revocation of trademarks with a reputation for lack of genuine use. The court, considering that the trademark DAMIANI had a reputation for jewellery, found that revocation for lack of genuine use did not apply in connection with a sector, such as clothing, that might be considered as a "natural development" of the trademark owner's business.

23 February 2011

Federal Court issues guidance on important ‘non-use’ issues

In Austin Nichols & Co Inc v Lodestar Anstalt, the Federal Court has provided useful guidance in relation to three important issues that commonly arise in non-use actions. One of these issues was whether the applicants for the removal of the trademark WILD GEESE had established standing as a ‘person aggrieved’ in respect of all the relevant goods.

22 February 2011

Trademark held to be detrimental to reputation of PepsiCo’s marks

The Estonian Board of Appeal has upheld PepsiCo Inc’s opposition against the registration of the trademark PEIPSI KOLA on the grounds that it would take unfair advantage of, and be detrimental to, the reputation of the earlier PEPSI COLA marks.

18 February 2011

Elvis appears in court - which is more than can be said for the defendant

In Elvis Presley Enterprises v Carollo (trading as Everness), the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales has granted summary judgment in favour or Elvis Presley Enterprises, a business that licensed the use of Elvis Presley's intellectual property, on a claim of trademark infringement, passing off and breach of contract against Agostino Carollo, who was making and selling albums that carried its marks.

06 June 2011

Geographical name standing alone difficult to protect under UDRP

In Ipiranga Produtos de Petróleo SA v Domain Admin, Mrs Jello LLC, a WIPO panel has refused to transfer the domain name ‘’ to Ipiranga Produtos de Petróleo SA, a major Brazilian oil distribution company. Essentially, the case was lost because the name Ipiranga alone is a geographical name in which Ipiranga could not establish any kind of exclusivity.

06 June 2011

Fictitious ‘Conch Republic’ may receive trademark protection

In Anderson v Upper Keys Business Group Inc, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals has held that the term 'Conch Republic' was not generic in referring to a satirical name for the Florida Keys. However, the term may be protectable as a descriptive trademark only if secondary meaning is established.

03 June 2011

Reputation combined with similarity leads to likelihood of confusion

In PJ Hungary Szolgáltató kft v OHIM, the General Court has held that the mark PEPEQUILLO was visually, phonetically and conceptually similar to the earlier PEPE marks. Among other things, the court pointed out that PEPE did not have a high intrinsic distinctive character, but had acquired it as a result of the development of the brand, notably in Spain.

01 June 2011

Single colour marks held to be invalid despite surrender

In Masterfoods v Société des Produits Nestlé SA, the Paris Court of Appeal has confirmed a decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in which the latter had held that several trademarks consisting of a single colour - including Mars’ purple colour mark for cat food - were invalid, even though Mars had surrendered the trademark registrations after the first instance decision.

01 February 2011

Protection of UEFA's IP rights increased ahead of Euro 2012

The State Department of Intellectual Property of Ukraine, in association with UEFA, is drafting amendments to the Law on the Organisation and Implementation of the Final Part of the European Football Championship of 2012 in order to respond to UEFA’s requirements. UEFA has already registered over 100 trademarks relating to Euro 2012 in Ukraine.

01 February 2011

Impact of consent and licence agreements on Section 2(d) refusals highlighted

In In re Wacker Neuson SE, the TTAB has issued a precedential decision concerning the weight given to consent and licence agreements when considering Section 2(d) likelihood of confusion refusals. The TTAB pointed out that, when deciding whether there is a likelihood of confusion despite a consent or licence agreement, the viewpoint of the businessmen and companies directly involved should be given substantial consideration.

31 January 2011

adidas fails to obtain injunction against importer of four-striped shoes

In adidas-Salomon v Yassin, the Tel Aviv District Court has rejected adidas-Salomon’s request for an injunction against an importer of shoes bearing four stripes, finding that there was no likelihood of confusion with adidas' well-known three-stripe mark. The court further held that, absent a likelihood of confusion or unfair competition, adidas should not be granted an overbroad monopoly over the use of diagonal stripes.

28 January 2011

New Trademark Law brings significant changes

The new Trademark Law of Montenegro has come into force. Under the law, the owners of trademarks registered in Serbia before May 28 2008 must 'revalidate' them in Montenegro before December 16 2011. Among other things, ex officio examination on relative grounds has been abolished and opposition proceedings have been introduced.

28 January 2011

'Sitting character' mark and design create different overall impressions

In José Manuel Baena Grupo SA v OHIM, the General Court has upheld an appeal by the holder of a registered Community design representing a sitting character against a decision of the Third Board of Appeal of OHIM finding that the design was invalid. The court concluded that the design created a different overall impression on the informed user than that produced by an earlier CTM consisting of a sitting character.