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06 November 2006

Joint ownership of trademark rights now available in Taiwan

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office has decided to accept trademark applications filed in the name of multiple owners. The Guidelines on Joint Ownership of Trademarks provide, among other things, that joint owners should appoint a representative from among themselves; failing that, the first owner listed on the application form will be deemed to be the representative of the joint owners.

01 November 2006

Counterfeiters hit with lengthy jail time

The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida in Miami recently obtained convictions of two defendants for various acts of trademark counterfeiting. The case is significant because it is one of the relatively few instances in which individuals convicted of trademark counterfeiting have been sentenced to significant time in jail.

25 July 2006

Second COLORADO Case issued

The Federal Court of Australia has issued a second ruling in a case involving use of a COLORADO mark. In the first case, the court had found that the defendant's use of COLORADO on backpacks infringed the plaintiff's rights. However, in the case at hand, it has ruled that the defendant's use of the mark on bags, wallets, purses and belts was not infringing.

24 July 2006

Trademark troublemaker sanctioned by TTAB

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has sanctioned an individual for filing an extraordinary number of extension requests to oppose trademark applications and failing to show good cause for these actions. Leo Stoller's aggressive tactics in asserting dubious trademark rights against trademark applicants and users has already resulted in sanctions and harsh criticism by federal courts and the board.

21 July 2006

Practice notice on registrability of non-English words issued

Following the recent ECJ decision in Matratzen Concord AG v Hukla Germany AG, the UK Patent Office has released a Practice Amendment Notice (PAN 12/06) on the registrability of non-English words. The notice seeks to provide guidelines on how the registrar is likely to respond to certain applications to register non-English words as trademarks.

14 July 2006

Use of mark by US parent company allows domain name transfer

A Canadian Internet Registration Authority panellist has ordered the transfer of the domain name 'pre-paidlegalservicesinc.ca' to the complainant, despite the fact that it did not own a corresponding registered trademark. The panellist held that the complainant had rights in the mark by virtue of use in the trade name of the complainant's US parent company.

06 October 2006

Lady golfers win second round in LPGA logo dispute

In Professional Golfers' Association Limited v Ladies Professional Golf Association, the OHIM Second Board of Appeal has rejected an opposition to the mark LPGA. The board found that because of the low degree of distinctiveness of the letters 'PGA', differences between the marks LPGA and PGA were sufficient to render the marks dissimilar.

04 October 2006

Aural similarity with VİGOSS sees off BİGOS application

The Re-Examination and Evaluation Board of the Turkish Patent Institute has upheld a decision finding the marks BİGOS and VİGOSS aurally confusingly similar. The decision is a rare instance in which the board has clearly stated that the reason for reaching its decision is a likelihood of aural similarity.

03 October 2006

Mark expiring during opposition proceedings no threat to application

The European Court of First Instance has reversed a decision of an OHIM Board of Appeal which upheld an opposition to the registration of the mark METRO. The court held that the board had failed to take into account that no conflict can arise between the mark applied for and an earlier mark that expired during opposition proceedings.

02 October 2006

Grand Board upolds cancellation of Lego shape mark

The new OHIM Grand Board has issued a ruling upholding the Cancellation Division's decision to cancel Lego Juris A/S's registration of the shape of a lego brick. The board held, among other things, that the fact that the block shape had been protected by patent proved that the shape had a particular technical function and therefore could not be registered as a trademark.

19 October 2006

OHIM releases new guidelines on examination and opposition

OHIM has reviewed and extended its guidelines on examination and opposition with a view to adapting them not only to the latest changes in the Community Trademark Regulation and its implementing regulation, but also so that they reflect the practice of OHIM in relation to examination and opposition procedures in greater detail.

18 October 2006

Shape of a bottle registered

The Slovenian Intellectual Property Office has allowed the registration of a trademark in the shape of a bottle covering goods in Class 32 of the Nice Classification, including mineral waters, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages. However, it refused registration in respect of goods in Class 21 (bottles) and services in Class 39 (bottling and packing of drinks) on the grounds that the mark was descriptive for those goods and services.

17 October 2006

High Court varies UBS trademark registration

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has ordered that the mark UBS held by UBS Corporation Berhad revert to its original form, which included a geometrical device and the words 'User Business System'. The application for expungement or variation had been filed by UBS AG, a global banking group, which claims rights in the UBS mark.

12 July 2006

Use of MICHELIN and third-party marks on clothing not infringing

The HsinChu District Court has dismissed a trademark infringement complaint filed by Michelin, holding that use of the MICHELIN mark, along with various other third-party marks, on clothing did not constitute trademark infringement because the trademarks were serving not as badges of origin but as decoration.

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.