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21 July 2003

New Public Contracting Law protects IP rights

Paraguay's new Public Contracting Law, which excludes from bidding parties that are not entitled to the use of the IP rights in the goods or services involved in a particular public contract, has come into force today. The law will give rights owners a more competitive edge and fairer access to public contracts.

21 July 2003

Resale of disposable cameras infringes FUJIFILM mark

In Fuji Film Co Ltd v Noh, the Supreme Court has ruled that the defendant's act of reloading new film into used Fuji Film disposable cameras, repackaging and then reselling them constituted manufacture of a new product, thereby infringing the plaintiff's rights in its FUJIFILM mark.

18 July 2003

Dilution claim limited by prior use in limited area

In Enterprise Rent-a-Car Co v Advantage Rent-a-Car Inc, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision to reject an opposition to the registration of the phrase 'we'll even pick you up'. The court ruled that the owner of a famous mark cannot oppose registration based on dilution where its mark did not achieve fame prior to the applicant's use in a limited geographic area.

17 July 2003

Mark's secondary meaning extends to its most salient feature

In KP Permanent Make-Up Inc v Lasting Impression I Inc, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that where the holder of an incontestable mark complains that the most salient feature of its mark is being imitated and a likelihood of confusion might result, a conclusive presumption that the mark has acquired a secondary meaning extends to the most salient feature of the mark.

15 July 2003

Fourth Circuit applies 'abandonment' principle in domain name case

In Sloan v Auditron Electronic Corporation, the Fourth Circuit has affirmed a district court decision rejecting the plaintiff's claim that the defendant's use of 'auditron.com' amounts to trademark infringement. Because the plaintiff (i) had not used his service mark AUDITRON for 15 years, and (ii) could not prove any intent to use it, the appellate court concluded that he had abandoned the mark.

15 July 2003

No need for photo finish as Kodak wins passing off dispute

In Eastman Kodak Company v Conko Ltd, the District Court of Tel Aviv-Jaffa has found the defendant photofinishing shop guilty of passing off for its use of a shade of yellow, similar to that used by the plaintiff in its branding, for envelopes employed to hold the printed photographs developed for customers.

15 July 2003

New Portuguese Industrial Property Code comes into force

The new Portuguese Industrial Property Code has come into force. The new code amends intellectual property law dating from 1995 and brings Portuguese legislation closer to the European Community legislation on, among other things, designs and trademarks.

14 July 2003

Parodic use of mark is legal, rules Paris court in landmark judgment

In Danone v Réseau Voltaire, the Paris Court of Appeal has ruled for the first time in normal proceedings that the parodic use of a trademark in a domain name and on a website does not constitute trademark infringement. It confirms the AREVA and Esso summary judgments, which were the first to reverse the trend of rulings favouring trademark owners.

14 July 2003

Tiger painting does not infringe trademark rights, rules Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit has upheld a district court decision dismissing golfer Tiger Woods's trademark infringement and right of publicity claims against an artist who had included Woods's image in a painting. The court held that (i) images or likenesses cannot be protected as trademarks, and (ii) the artist's right of freedom of expression outweighs Woods's right of publicity.

14 July 2003

Anheuser-Busch finds a victory in Nigeria

The Nigerian Trademark Office has refused Budejovicky Budvar's application to register 'Budweiser' as a trademark, chalking up the first reported victory for Anheuser-Busch since the Spanish Provincial Court of Appeals found in its favour over the use of the word 'Budweiser' on bottle labels.

11 July 2003

Thai IP court gets tough on infringers

Two decisions issued by the Thai Intellectual Property and International Trade Court seem to signal a new regime of harsher punishment for convicted counterfeiters. The court has been the target of criticism, particularly from foreign commentators, suggesting that the sentences imposed on offenders have been too lenient and have done little to curb counterfeiting in Thailand.

10 July 2003

Tiffany wraps up opposition to handkerchief mark

In Tiffany & Co v Winston Hankies & Needlecraft Company, the director of the Bureau of Legal Affairs - a division of the Intellectual Property Office - has upheld the plaintiff's opposition to the registration of a sign featuring the name 'Tiffany' and some Chinese characters as a trademark for use in relation to handkerchiefs.

10 July 2003

Third Circuit gives Shire a tough pill to swallow

In Shire US Inc v Barr Laboratories Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has affirmed a district court decision refusing to grant a preliminary injunction to the plaintiff on the grounds that the Maryland-based company did not establish that the trade dress of its Adderall pills was non-functional.

10 July 2003

Panel rejects case pending arbitration on VON DUTCH mark

A NAF panellist has rejected a case involving the domain name 'VonDutch.com' on the grounds that an arbitration proceeding over the ownership of the VON DUTCH mark is pending. The decision prevents the complainant from obtaining a result through the UDRP that may not be appropriate under the previously commenced proceeding.

09 July 2003

EU law adequate to prevent trademark abuses

The European Commission has concluded in a report that existing EU legal provisions are sufficient to counter any potential abuse of trademark rights. The European Parliament requested an investigation after parallel importers alleged that the lack of an international exhaustion system in Europe restricts their right to trade freely.