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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.

10 September 2008

Patent Office clips WHITE STORK's wings

In a surprising decision, the Chamber of Patent Disputes of the Russian Patent Office has ordered the cancellation of the trademark WHITE STORK on the grounds that the mark had not been in use for the past three consecutive years. The reasons why the applicant initiated the cancellation action remain unknown.

08 September 2008

Law firm has standing to bring invalidity action on absolute grounds

In Lancôme Parfums et Beauté & Cie SNC v OHIM, the CFI has held that CMS Hasche Sigle, a law firm, was entitled to file an application for a declaration that the mark COLOR EDITION was invalid. Among other things, the CFI stated that under Article 55(1)(a) of the Community Trademark Regulation, an application for a declaration of invalidity may be filed by a broad range of applicants.

05 September 2008

Sweet victory for Haribo in PIRATOS Case

In Haribo Lakrids A/S v Hela Wine & Spirits, the Maritime and Commercial Court has held that the mark LOS PIRATAS, which was used by Hela Wine & Spirits to produce and sell spirits, was confusingly similar to Haribo's trademarks PIRATOS and SUPER PIRATOS. The court also concluded that the infringement was wilful and ordered Hela to pay compensation to Haribo.

05 September 2008

Claims go up in smoke in HERBAQUIT LOZENGES Case

In Natural Answers Inc v SmithKline Beecham Corp, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favour of SmithKline Beecham Corp, the maker of a smoking-cessation product sold under the mark COMMIT LOZENGES. Among other things, the court held that plaintiff Natural Answers Inc had abandoned its HERBAQUIT LOZENGES mark.

03 September 2008

Parties are bound by arguments raised in opposition

The Trademarks Department Directorate of the Turkish Patent Institute has clarified that an argument raised on appeal cannot be taken into consideration if it was not raised in the original opposition proceedings. This is in line with the approach taken by the courts in actions seeking the annulment of decisions of the institute.

18 July 2008

Hugo Boss fails to prevent registration of BOSS mark

The registrar of trademarks has rejected oppositions filed by Hugo Boss AG against two applications by Suntory Kabushiki Kaisha to register the mark BOSS for goods in Classes 29 and 30. Although Suntory’s mark was found to be similar to those owned by Hugo Boss, the registrar held that consumers would not be confused into believing that Suntory’s goods originated from Hugo Boss.

18 July 2008

eBay defeats Tiffany’s counterfeit sales suit

In Tiffany (NJ) Inc v eBay Inc, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has rejected Tiffany's trademark infringement claims against eBay Inc based on sales of counterfeit Tiffany products on eBay's auction platforms. Among other things, the court also held that eBay's purchase of sponsored search advertisements, as well as use of the TIFFANY marks in those advertisements, was permissible.

16 July 2008

Rules for obtaining certificates of registration amended

The Montenegro Intellectual Property Office has announced that it no longer accepts copies of Serbian trademark filings or validity certificates in order to obtain a certificate of registration in Montenegro. An original or a certified copy of the Serbian filing or validity certificate is now required.

15 July 2008

Lion Nathan gets its claws out in BAREFOOT Case

In E & J Gallo Winery v Lion Nathan Australia Pty Ltd, the Federal Court of Australia has ordered that the trademark BAREFOOT be removed from the register on grounds of non-use. The decision highlights the importance of ensuring active use of trademarks in Australia through direct sales and advertising in order to maintain valid trademark rights.