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24 June 2003

Alfred Dunhill smokes out trademark infringement

The Delhi High Court has issued a decision in favour of Alfred Dunhill Ltd, the owner of the famous DUNHILL mark. The court ordered Mumbai-based investment company Dunhill Securities Ltd to refrain from using 'Dunhill' as part of its corporate name, and on its visiting cards, invoices and advertising banners.

24 June 2003

Appellate court writes off PIERRE CARDIN damages calculation

The Buenos Aires Chamber of Appeal has increased the damages to be paid to rights owner Sassoon & Cia to compensate for the infringing use of its PIERRE CARDIN mark from Ps100,000 to Ps150,000. The court ruled that the amount should be a percentage of the infringing items' total sales and not a multiplication of a single month's record sales.

23 June 2003

Crown to prove civil infringement before criminal offences

In Regina v Johnstone, the House of Lords has ruled that the prosecution has to prove that the use of a sign is a civil infringement under the UK Trademarks Act 1994 before proving criminal offences under the act. In finding that using performers' names on illegal CDs does not amount to trademark use, the court also departs from the ECJ's conclusion in Arsenal.

23 June 2003

Grey-market seller had unfair advantage with 'no-fleas.com'

In Bayer Corporation v Custom School Frames LLC, a US district court in Louisiana has issued a strong decision for trademark owners, ordering (i) an injunction that prohibits the defendant from selling the plaintiff's foreign-made flea control products in the United States, and (ii) the transfer of 'no-fleas.com' to the plaintiff.

20 June 2003

Appeals court must reconsider identical marks case

The German Supreme Court has reversed a lower court ruling that the use of BIG BERTHA in relation to clothing associated with golf does not infringe or dilute the same mark for golf clubs and bags. The court remanded the case for the lower court to consider all the circumstances in accordance with the ECJ's case law on identical marks.

19 June 2003

JÄGARBRÄNNVIN brand shot down for being confusingly similar

The Swedish Supreme Court has ruled in Mast-Jägermeister Aktiengesellschaft v V & S Vin & Sprit Aktiebolag that the defendant's use of the mark JÄGARBRÄNNVIN for schnapps infringed the plaintiff's rights in the marks JÄGER and JÄGERMEISTER for liquor that is consumed as shots, thereby reversing two lower court decisions.

19 June 2003

Comparative advertising law clarified in eye-opening decision

The European Court of Justice has clarified the law on comparative advertising set out in Council Directive 84/450. The court held, among other things, that it is for national courts to determine whether the omission of brand names in advertisements comparing branded and unbranded products is capable of being misleading.

18 June 2003

Generic trademarks: the importance of brand vigilance

As the fate of the ESCALATOR and LINOLEUM marks show, obtaining a trademark registration for a brand is only half the battle. Rights owners must then ensure that the mark does not become a generic designation for similar goods or services as it will then lose its function and be subject to cancellation. Elizabeth May of Field Fisher Waterhouse looks at some European decisions and sets out the actions brand owners can take to save their marks from such a fate.

18 June 2003

Intelsys trade name is confusingly similar to INTEL mark, rules court

In Intel Corporation v Intelsys Group, the Delhi High Court has issued an injunction restraining the defendant from using the word 'Intelsys' - or any other word deceptively similar to the registered INTEL mark - in any way, including as a trade name, trademark, domain name or email address.

17 June 2003

'Trademark exhaustion' doctrine examined for the first time

In a ruling ending a five-year legal battle between the plaintiffs Elite Industries and Elite Romania SRL, and the defendants Graziella Import Export SRL and its owner - Yahya Sadr Kheradmand, the Supreme Court of Justice has, for the first time, analyzed the doctrine of exhaustion of trademark rights set out in the Romanian Trademark Law.

16 June 2003

Production criteria protected in landmark ham and cheese cases

In the Parma ham Case and the Grana Padano Case, the ECJ has found that the production requirements specified to ensure the quality and reputation of a product registered with a protected designation of origin can, in some instances, justify a restriction on the free movement of goods in the European Union.

13 June 2003

Competitor banned from using BellSouth's marks and name unfairly

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction against Access Integrated Networks (AIN) for unfairly using the BELLSOUTH marks and name, and telling potential customers that it provides BellSouth services. The injunction also bars AIN from offering for sale any goods or services that company sales personnel falsely identified as BellSouth products.

13 June 2003

Durferrit fails to protect TUFFTRIDE mark

In Durferrit GmbH v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the decision of the OHIM First Board of Appeal to reject Durferrit's opposition to the registration of Kolene Corporation's mark NU-TRIDE based on Durferrit's previously registered mark TUFFTRIDE.

12 June 2003

Grey-goods importer must disclose name of exporter

In Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma KG v GTO Expeditie BV, the Civil Court of The Hague has ordered the defendant, a Dutch importer of grey-market goods, to disclose to the plaintiff the name of the East European exporter of the goods. The court noted that the plaintiff's trademark rights had been violated and the order was necessary to find the source of the infringement.

12 June 2003

Landmark fraud case goes to Medinol

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has issued a precedent-setting decision on the issue of fraud in a trademark cancellation action: the test for fraud includes what a party "should have known" about the facts stated in an application, not merely what the party did know or intended to do.