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29 July 2003

Lottery winner awaited following preliminary ruling

In Inter Lotto (UK) Limited v Camelot Group Plc, the High Court has confirmed that a right to a registered trademark is not a right to use that mark to the exclusion of others. Rather, it is an exclusive right to prevent others from using the mark under certain circumstances. As a result, another party can use the trademark so long as it does so in a way that is not likely to cause deception or confusion.

25 July 2003

Get-up infringement decision sticks in Aldi's throat

In MalacoLeaf AB v Aldi, the Maritime and Commercial Court of Copenhagen has issued an order prohibiting the sale of the defendant's HUSTOL-marked throat candy in Denmark. It ruled that the get-up used by the defendant was confusingly similar to that used by the plaintiff for its pastilles sold under the mark LÄKEROL.

23 July 2003

OBELIX beats pub owner in bar name brawl

In Les Editions Albert René SARL v Madaleno, the Court of Golegã has ruled that the defendant's use of the name 'Obelix-Bar' for his pub infringed the plaintiff's rights in its OBELIX mark. The court also ordered the defendant to pay €1,500 in damages, demonstrating that Portuguese courts are now more willing to issue such orders, even where it is difficult to assess the exact level of damage suffered.

22 July 2003

European Union one step closer to amended trademark law

The European Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market has issued its report on the proposed changes to the Community Trademark Regulation, building on the Commission's proposal issued earlier this year. The text is expected to be approved by the EU Parliament in September.

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.

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.

08 July 2003

Budvar set to win exclusive right to BUD in Austria

Advocate General Antonio Tizzano has opined that Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar has the exclusive right to use the BUD mark in Austria on the grounds that a bilateral treaty between an EU member state and a non-member state supersedes EU law if that treaty was entered into before the member state acceded.

08 July 2003

Law enforcement agencies shatter fake Swarovski cartel

The Russian law enforcement agencies have raided a chandelier plant, terminating the production of counterfeit Swarovski products. The plant was being run by an underground cartel that employed about 40 workers who made chandeliers with poor-quality metal and Turkish crystals, and then branded them with the famous SWAROVSKI trademark.

03 July 2003

Budvar chalks up another victory against Anheuser-Busch

Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar has registered another victory - this time in Romania - against US brewer Anheuser-Busch. The Trademarks Examination Committee refused Anheuser's trademark application to register the words 'American Bud' on the grounds that Budvar already has international trademark rights in BUD.

27 June 2003

Fate of PRUMERICA not assured by decision of French court

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a prior decision of a French court allowing the registration of Prudential Assurance Company of America's PRUMERICA mark in France does not prevent Prudential Assurance Co Ltd from pursuing a claim in the UK courts that PRUMERICA infringes its PRU and PRUDENTIAL Community and UK trademark registrations.

25 June 2003

adidas wins case against three-stripe mark infringer

The Athens Court of First Instance has granted injunctive relief to adidas-Salomon AG against a local company selling shoes adorned with parallel stripes. The court found that the use of stripes similar to the well-known adidas mark was detrimental to adidas in terms of lost sales and tarnished reputation.

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.

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.