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26 October 2005

The challenges of '.eu'

With the launch of the sunrise period for the '.eu' domain now only a few weeks away, David Taylor of Lovells in Paris looks at how the '.eu' domain came to be, what its potential is and the challenges posed by the sunrise period and application procedure. In a second article to be published soon, he will look at the alternative dispute resolution policy for '.eu'.

12 October 2005

MERCOSUR steps up its efforts against counterfeiting

Counterfeiting remains the biggest trademark infringement problem for producers of luxury and consumer goods alike. MERCOSUR is more vulnerable to the problem than most regions of the world, partly because consumers there do not perceive counterfeiting as a crime - and neither do a number of politicians. Jaime Bestard of Berkemeyer Attorneys & Counselors in Asuncion explains what progress has been made in the region in the fight against counterfeiting in the past two years, and what remains to be done.

28 September 2005

When trademark rights must bow to a greater need

While a trademark must be used to fulfil its function of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings, consumer protection laws put restrictions on how and when use of the mark may occur. The interrelation between trademarks on the one hand, and unfair competition and advertising legislation on the other is a complex one. Alexander Vida of Danubia in Budapest reviews some aspects of this uneasy relationship in Europe.

14 September 2005

Pushing the case for damages

Indian legislation limits the grant of damages in respect of IP violations to actual losses. This means that plaintiffs must demonstrate that their claims for damages are directly attributable to acts carried out by the infringers - a difficult task when counterfeiters operate on a covert basis. Consequently, Indian courts have rarely awarded damages in IP cases. Change is in the air, however: Ameet Datta of Anand & Anand in New Delhi reports that the Delhi High Court has awarded damages in several recent IP cases.

31 August 2005

Mexico extends its protection of well-known and famous marks

The Mexican Industrial Property Law has been amended to give additional protection to well-known and famous marks. While domestic statutory law, case law and international treaties theoretically already afford well-known marks a high level of protection, experience has shown that this is not always the case. Inti Alejandro Alva of Arochi Marroquín & Lindner SC in Mexico explains how the power now given to the Institute of Industrial Property to declare or recognize marks as well known or famous will help mark owners to enforce their rights more effectively.

13 July 2005

Louis Vuitton injunction: landlords liable in counterfeiting war

A New York district court has granted Louis Vuitton a preliminary injunction against the owner of seven Canal Street, New York properties. The injunction is the first of its kind granted to a major designer against the sale of counterfeit goods in New York. James L Bikoff and Patrick L Jones of Silverberg Goldman & Bikoff in Washington DC explain how this may give trademark holders a new weapon in the perennial battle against counterfeiters.

30 June 2005

Greek Competition Commission's questions go unanswered

Pharmaceutical companies that were hoping that their ability to restrict parallel trade in the European Union would be clarified by the ECJ have been disappointed by the court's refusal to consider questions on this issue referred by the Greek Competition Commission. The ECJ held that it did not have jurisdiction as the Greek commission does not meet the criteria for reference under the EC Treaty.

22 June 2005

Protection for non-traditional trademarks in Asia

Three-dimensional, sound, texture, taste and smell marks can - as with more conventional signs such as words and logos - identify products or services as being from a particular undertaking. Ted Chwu of Bird & Bird in Hong Kong and Beijing reports that the acceptance of non-traditional trademarks has increased in many Asian jurisdictions in recent years as a result of legislative changes.

08 June 2005

Personal names as domain names: confusion reigns

A number of recent decisions have highlighted the fact that disputes involving personal names registered as domain names may be resolved differently according to whether (i) they are decided in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, or (ii) formal litigation proceedings are brought before national courts. David Taylor and Jane Seager of Lovells in Paris examine some of these decisions and consider what conclusions may be drawn from them.

25 May 2005

Genuine trademark use in the European Union

Far from being a settled debate, what constitutes trademark use - in particular in the context of revocation proceedings for non-use - is still very much a disputed notion under EU law. Leighton Cassidy of Field Fisher Waterhouse in London examines selected case law and some practical considerations relating to genuine use of trademarks in the European Union, with particular reference to the Community Trademark Directive.

04 May 2005

Are image rights protected in Europe?

At the margin of trademark law, image rights enable individuals to control the use of their name, voice or picture. Against the backdrop of protection afforded in some other European countries, Jacqueline Irvine of Bird & Bird in London looks at these rights in the United Kingdom, in particular in relation to unauthorized use of personalities' images to endorse products and services.

20 April 2005

Unhappy bedfellows? The relationship between passing off and registered trademarks

In common law countries the protection afforded to trademarks by the tort of passing off is usually welcomed as an additional weapon in the registered owner's arsenal. Among other things, passing off extends protection to aspects, such as get-up and feel, that registered trademark protection often cannot reach. However, Alistair Payne and John Cahir of Matheson Ormsby Prentice in Dublin report that recent experience and case law suggest that passing off does not always complement registered trademark protection - instead the potential for conflict is ever greater.

06 April 2005

The impetus behind law modernization: the Canadian example

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has requested comments from the public relating to the proposed modernization of the Canadian Trademarks Act, which has remained essentially intact since its implementation over half a century ago. Jennifer McKay of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Ottawa examines the proposed changes and the reasons behind them - from the possibility of acceding to international treaties to the necessity to put an end to some contradictions within the existing act.

23 March 2005

Asian laws find common ground

Asian countries have been particularly prolific in the past few years with the introduction of new (or amended) trademark legislation. China, Hong Kong and India have all adopted an array of trademark laws and regulations that will see mark owners in these countries enjoy broader rights and simplified procedures. Singapore was the latest to amend its trademark legislation by implementing last July an act that shares many features with its neighbours' new laws. Ai-Leen Lim and Angeline Lee of Colin Ng & Partners in Hong Kong discuss some of these statutes' common features.

09 March 2005

Unconventional marks in Europe since SIECKMANN, LIBERTEL and SHIELD MARK

Between December 2002 and November 2003, the European Court of Justice issued three ground-breaking decisions on the registrability of unconventional trademarks. Mark Holah of Field Fisher Waterhouse in London explains how SIECKMANN, LIBERTEL and SHIELD MARK have narrowed the boundaries of trademark protection in the European Union by making it a lot more difficult to register smells, colours and sounds. He also considers further decisions that have since helped to draw a clearer picture of what can and cannot be registered.