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15 May 2003

Alcon's mark cancelled, despite attempts to protect distinctiveness

The European Court of First Instance has ordered the cancellation of Alcon Inc's Community trademark BSS. The court held that (i) BSS - an acronym for 'balanced salt solution' - has become customary in the current language or established practices of the ophthalmic industry, and (ii) Alcon had not proved that the term has acquired distinctiveness through use.

14 May 2003

Wrestling federation licensee allowed to sell WWF branded videogames

In World Wide Fund for Nature v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc, the Court of Appeal has ruled that certain classic videogames of World Wrestling Federation performers can be sold by licensee THQ/Jakks Pacific LLC - a blow to efforts by the World Wide Fund for Nature, which had stopped the sale of the games through lower court legal action.

13 May 2003

New use requirement may spur cancellation actions

Paraguay's Trademark Law 1294/98 makes the use of registered trademarks mandatory. It provides that as of October 1 2003 actions may be brought for the cancellation of marks that have not been used for five consecutive years.

13 May 2003

ICEE licensee denied relief under Federal Trademark Dilution Act

In ICEE Distributors Inc v J&J Snack Foods Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held that an exclusive licensee of a trademark has no standing to sue under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act because it is not the owner of the mark.

12 May 2003

Injunction leaves HONDA counterfeiter with engine trouble

The Court of Campobasso has confirmed its pre-trial decision granting Honda a preliminary injunction prohibiting the distribution in Italy of engines and generators manufactured by Wuxi Worldbest Kama Machinery. The court held that although the products carried different marks to those manufactured by Honda, they were counterfeits or "slavish imitations" of its goods.

12 May 2003

Delhi High Court writes off design infringement

In a suit filed by Mitsubishi Pencil together with its Calcutta-based sole distributor Linc Pen & Plastics, the Delhi High Court has restrained Mumbai-based company Flair Pen & Plastics from manufacturing and selling pens which are similar in design to a Mitsubishi pen sold under the mark UNI-BALL VISION ELITE.

09 May 2003

Australia permits parallel importation of software

The federal Parliament has passed the Copyright Amendment (Parallel Importation) Bill 2002, which removes restrictions on the parallel importation of computer programs and games, as well as books, periodicals and sheet music in electronic form. Copyright owners opposed the new act, arguing that it will facilitate the flow of pirated products into Australia.

09 May 2003

Partial cancellations not possible until December

In Van Cleef & Arpels SA v Zanzi SA, Ecuador's Intellectual Property Committee has confirmed that a suit for partial cancellation of a mark may not be brought until at least December 1 2003 - three years after Andean Community Decision 486 came into force.

08 May 2003

Karlsberg successfully opposes 'mystery' registration

The European Court of First Instance has ruled that the word 'mystery' may not be registered as a Community trademark in relation to non-alcoholic beverages. The court found that there was a likelihood of confusion with Karlsberg's MIXERY mark, even though MIXERY is not highly distinctive.

06 May 2003

Supreme Court allows publication of judgment online

In a case involving Hugo Boss as plaintiff, the Supreme Court has ruled that a judgment in the plaintiff's favour concerning unfair competition and trademark infringement can be published on the defendant's website. The court also set out conditions that must be met if a judgment is to be published on a defendant's site.

06 May 2003

Misrepresentation of ruling will not affect pending decision

In Yakult Honsha Co Ltd v Yakudo Group Holdings Ltd, the Hong Kong High Court has rejected the plaintiff's application for an injunction restraining the defendant from misrepresenting in Taiwan the contents or effects of an earlier ruling relating to a passing-off action. The court found that the misrepresentation will not affect the pending decision.

02 May 2003

Parallel importer to prove exhaustion of rights, rules ECJ

The European Court of Justice has ruled that in parallel import disputes, the defendant carries the burden of proving that the mark owner gave its consent to the sale of its goods in the European Economic Area, thus exhausting the mark owner's trademark rights. However, the burden shifts to the plaintiff if there is a risk of market partitioning.

30 April 2003

Trademarks Council denounces four look-a-likes

The Swedish Trademarks Council, a panel of experts that was established last year to investigate cases of product imitation, has found that four large convenience store chains have violated Swedish legal principles and canons of business ethics by selling privately labelled products that imitate the shape, size, labelling and/or colouring of branded products.

30 April 2003

Stylized mark banned on grounds of unfair competition

In Migliore Co Ltd v Lee, the Seoul High Court has issued an injunction banning the defendant from using its mark MIGLSAMO in a stylized form. The court found that although the stylized form does not infringe the plaintiff's registered mark MIGLIORE, its use constituted unfair competition because of its similarity with the stylized form of the plaintiff's mark.

28 April 2003

Dastar asks Supreme Court to balance trademark and copyright law

The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in Dastar Corp v Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp to decide whether trademark law can prevent the copying of public-domain material. The court's decision will have important implications for issues arising from the intersection of copyright and trademark law.