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13 May 2004

Chief Justice justifies stringent stance on IP infringement

In Ong Ah Tiong v Public Prosecutor, the Chief Justice of Singapore has upheld a sentence of 32 months' imprisonment for breach of the Trademarks Act and Copyright Act. He noted that the increasingly stringent approach that Singapore courts are taking against IP infringement is justified by the fact that, among other things, Singapore is a prominent business hub and its government has made strong efforts to promote it as a regional IP centre.

12 May 2004

Awareness campaign kick-starts anti-counterfeiting crusade

As part of the Italian government's measures to fight counterfeiting, Minister for Productive Activities Antonio Marzano has launched a campaign to inform the Italian public on the impact counterfeiting has on the national economy. Marzano also disclosed details of other anti-counterfeiting measures that were first announced when the Finance Act 2004 was introduced to Parliament.

11 May 2004

Auction site helps government combat online counterfeit sales

Taiwan's largest online auctioneer has cancelled the accounts of three sellers after the Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed that they were selling knockoffs of products manufactured by the British label Burberry. The move is part of the government's attempt to stamp out the sale of counterfeit goods over the Internet.

10 May 2004

Crocodile chews up Lacoste in logo infringement win

The Shanghai Intermediate Court has reportedly ruled that French clothing firm Lacoste, the owner of the famous crocodile logo, infringed Singapore company Crocodile International's copyright in its crocodile logo. This outcome is somewhat surprising as China's legislation protects well-known marks.

07 May 2004

Unprecedented compensation award in infringement case

In Sibirsky Bereg v OOO Kropotkinsky Khlebokombinat, the Arbitration Court of Krasnodar has upheld the plaintiff's trademark infringement complaint and has ordered the defendant to pay an unprecedented amount of monetary compensation - Rb1 million (approximately $35,000). The move towards higher levels of compensation for trademark infringement is welcome news for mark owners.

07 May 2004

Valid registration may not block third-party use of generic term

In a majority decision, the Third Panel of the Superior Court of Justice has ruled that in a trademark infringement case a defendant may be able to continue using the mark at issue if it can show that the mark is considered to be a generic term. This defence applies, even if the plaintiff's earlier mark was validly registered or has since become incontestable.

07 May 2004

Consultation period on Trademarks Act amendments closes

The consultation period for the proposed amendments to the Trademarks Act has ended. The proposed amendments will enhance the rights accorded to well-known marks and provide extended remedies to trademark owners in cases of infringement. The changes are expected to allow Singapore to move away from a compensatory regime to one of deterrence.

06 May 2004

Counterfeit cigarette case confirms efficiency of John Doe orders

In Ardath Tobacco Company Limited v Bhai, the Delhi High Court has extended its practice of using John Doe orders in counterfeiting cases. Such orders are particularly efficient as they allow court commissioners to search the premises of the defendant as well as those of any other party suspected of infringement.

05 May 2004

Consent judgment issued in TIMBERLAND passing off case

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has issued a consent judgment following a settlement agreement between Timberland Company and five defendant retailers. The judgment included an injunction restraining the defendants from using Timberland's TIMBERLAND and 'tree' design marks on clothing not manufactured by Timberland.

05 May 2004

Personal names can be protected as trademarks, rules Seventh Circuit

In Peaceable Planet Inc v Ty Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that the common law principle that personal names require proof of secondary meaning before they can be protected as trademarks "does not apply if the public is unlikely to understand the personal name as a personal name".

04 May 2004

Famous marks afforded extended protection

The Trademarks Act 1994 has been amended to broaden the protection afforded to famous trademarks. The changes, which will take effect tomorrow, will bring UK law into line with the ECJ's reasoning in Davidoff and adidas that anti-dilution provisions should extend to cases where a similar or identical sign is used for goods similar or identical to those to which a famous mark applies.

30 April 2004

Esso court confirms that free speech can override trademark rights

A Paris court has ruled that the general principle of freedom of speech may be used to create an exception to trademark rights under certain circumstances. This decision rejects Esso's contention that Greenpeace's use of the marks ESSO, STOP ESSO, E$$O and STOP E$$O on its website amounted to infringement.

29 April 2004

Likelihood of dilution sufficient in administrative proceedings

The TTAB has at last published its June 2003 decision holding that claimants in opposition proceedings need only show a likelihood of dilution under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act to support an opposition. It is the first time that the TTAB has directly addressed the issue of dilution since the Supreme Court's Moseley decision.

29 April 2004

Border measures available for first time

Border measures for Serbia and Montenegro have come into force following last year's enactment of the Law on Customs and the amendment last month of its implementing decree. IP owners may now file applications with customs for the detention of counterfeit goods that are imported, exported or in transit. Counterfeit goods may be destroyed - or at least removed from regular channels of trade.

28 April 2004

A summary judgment hearing is not a mini-trial, affirms court

The UK High Court has dismissed Beiersdorf AG's application for summary judgment against a number of parallel importers. It rejected Beiersdorf's assertion that letters, purportedly showing that the alleged infringing products were first marketed in the EEA with Beiersdorf's consent, were forgeries. Noting that summary judgment hearings were no place for a mini-trial, the court stated that the defendants should be allowed to contest the assertion.