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04 November 2008

‘.mp’ extension opens to personal identity and social networking

Saipan DataCom Inc, the registry for the '.mp' country-code top-level domain, has announced that it is promoting '.mp' for personal identity and social networking through the sub-domain ''. Challenges to registrations made during the sunrise period can be submitted during the sunrise challenge period, which ends on November 7 2008.

03 November 2008

KARL JURAK is primarily a surname, says Federal Court

In Matol Biotech Laboratories Ltd v Jurak Holdings Ltd, the Federal Court has approved a decision of the Opposition Board in which the latter had upheld Jurak Holdings Ltd’s opposition against the registration of the trademark KARL JURAK. Among other things, the court held that the average consumer would view the mark as being primarily a surname.

03 October 2008

Jenni Button restrained from using her own name

In Button v Jenni Button (Pty) Ltd, the High Court (Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division) has granted an order enjoining Jenni Button, a well-known South African clothing designer, from making use of the trade name Jenni Button for the purposes of conducting business within the retail clothing trade in South Africa. Button was also directed to pay the costs of the application.

02 October 2008

Opposition may continue based on converted rights

In Cardiva SL v Cardima Inc, the Grand Board of Appeal of OHIM has held that an opposition originally based on a Community trademark application which is later converted into national trademark applications and registrations can be maintained on the basis of those converted rights. The decision is likely to be welcomed by most trademark owners and practitioners.

02 October 2008

GREDDY Case highlights importance of being first to use mark

In Trust Co Ltd v Amornpornwiwat, the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court has held that Trust Co Ltd had a better right to the trademark GREDDY, even though the defendant was the first to apply for the registration of the mark in Thailand. Among other things, the court held that Trust Co was the owner of the mark because it was the first to use it in Thailand in relation to its goods.

02 October 2008

New registry for ‘.ae’ domain names established

The responsibility for the '.ae' country-code top-level domain has been transferred to a new entity, the .aeDA. Among other things, the .aeDA proposes to work only with accredited registrars. Therefore, domain name holders with '.ae' domain names in their portfolios should undertake a review to determine whether a change of registrar(s) is required.

01 October 2008

PUREBABY decision: the end of the essential feature test?

In In the matter of Trademark Application 738606 in the name of Purebaby Pty Ltd, the hearings officer has held that the mark PUREBABY was not confusingly similar to the earlier registered trademark PURE. The decision indicates that the essential feature test set out in De Cordova v Vick may no longer be of much relevance when considering the similarity of marks.

30 September 2008

NAKED not registrable for condoms

The Hong Kong Trademarks Registry has refused to register the trademark NAKED for condoms on the grounds that it was descriptive and lacked distinctiveness. Among other things, the registrar held that consumers were likely to perceive the mark as describing a characteristic of the goods, rather than as a badge of origin.

26 September 2008

AKAI cancelled on unfair competition grounds

In Akai Electric Co Ltd v Akai Universal Industries Ltd, the Presidium of the Higher Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation has ordered the cancellation of the trademark AKAI on the grounds that the registration infringed the rights of well-known Japanese company Akai Electric Co Ltd in its company name.

25 September 2008

Suspension of opposition overturned in battle over colour purple

In Cadbury UK Ltd v Registrar of Trademarks, the Federal Court of Australia has set aside the registrar's decision to suspend the opposition proceedings in respect of the registration of Cadbury UK Limited's colour trademarks. Among other things, the court held that the suspension of the opposition proceedings for an indefinite period of time amounted to a denial of justice.

23 September 2008

Limits of enforceability of 3D marks highlighted

In Whirlpool Corporation v Kenwood Limited, the High Court has provided valuable guidance as to the limits of the enforceability of three-dimensional trademarks. Among other things, the court held that there was no likelihood of confusion between Whirlpool Corporation's KitchenAid Artisan mixer, the shape of which is registered as a Community trademark, and Kenwood Limited's K-Mix mixer.

19 September 2008

Shape of Coca-Cola bottle registered as three-dimensional mark

The IP High Court has reversed a decision of the Patent Office in which the latter had rejected the registration of the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle as a three-dimensional trademark. The court ruled that although the mark was descriptive under Article 3(1)(3) of the Trademark Law, it had acquired the degree of distinctiveness required under Article 3(2) of the law.

19 September 2008

Reliance on examiner’s suggestion does not necessarily avoid fraud claim

In Grand Canyon West Ranch LLC v Hualapai Tribe, in a precedential opinion, the TTAB has narrowed the margin left open in Medinol Ltd v Neuro Vasx Inc concerning which type of statements may constitute fraud on the USPTO. The decision shows that fraud may be found even if the incorrect statement results from reliance on suggestions of the trademark examining attorney.

16 September 2008

Mobil fails to prevent registration of MOBIS

In Mobil Petroleum Company Inc v Hyundai Mobis, the High Court has affirmed a decision dismissing an opposition filed by Mobil Petroleum Company Inc, the owner of the well-known MOBIL mark, against the registration of the mark MOBIS. The finding that the goods covered by the marks were dissimilar was decisive for the court in deciding that Mobil had not made out the grounds of opposition.

12 September 2008

USPTO considers whether to carve out exception to infringement of design

The US Patent and Trademark Office and Congress are re-examining the extent to which the design of a component part of an article of manufacture should be protected in view of recent cases before the International Trade Commission and comparisons with design protection regimes in the European Union.