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07 March 2003

Defence to infringement imposes legal not evidential burden, rules court

In Sliney v London Borough of Havering, the Court of Appeal has held that, in cases involving a criminal charge of unauthorized trademark use, a defendant relying on the defence in Section 92(5) of the Trademarks Act (ie, that he did not believe such use to be an infringement) is under a legal, rather than evidential, burden to prove that the defence is made out.

06 March 2003

Anti-dilution protection extended by ECJ

An ECJ decision appears to have extended the Community Trademark Directive's anti-dilution protection to the use of identical or similar signs on similar goods as well as dissimilar goods, regardless of confusion, if the infringement of a well-known mark is at issue.

04 March 2003

Specialized court divisions to take charge of IP disputes

The Italian Parliament has approved a new law, pursuant to which specialized court divisions will hear intellectual property (IP) disputes. The aim is to promote the accumulation of IP expertise by the small number of judges who will be appointed to preside over and work in the new divisions.

28 February 2003

Trademarks high on the agenda at Intellectual Property Forum 2003

Simpson's-in-the-Strand in London this week successfully hosted the Intellectual Property Forum 2003. A panel of over 20 high-calibre speakers including the vice president for legal affairs at the OHIM discussed recent European developments in trademark law.

28 February 2003

Anheuser-Busch fails to revoke Budvar trademarks

In Budejovicky Budvar Narodni Podnik v Anheuser-Busch Inc, the Court of Appeal has upheld two UK trademark registrations for stylized versions of the words 'Budweiser Budbräu' and 'Bud' belonging to Czech brewers Budejovicky Budvar. US brewers Anheuser-Busch had applied to revoke the trademarks for non-use.

26 February 2003

Domain names and trademarks give equal prior rights

In Sarl La Société Temesis v Association Afaq, the Nanterre Court of First Instance has ruled that a trademark registration can be cancelled on the basis of a prior domain name registration if (i) the domain name was in use before the mark registration was filed, and (ii) there is a risk of confusion.

26 February 2003

Max Mara sues but loses its own marks

The Maritime and Commercial Court in Copenhagen has clarified the amount of evidence needed to prove use of a registered mark. The court ordered the cancellation of two marks registered by Italian company Max Mara Fashion Group after finding that proof of a few hundred sales to Danish retailers was not enough to maintain the registrations.

24 February 2003

Supreme Court approves destruction of fakes

The Supreme Court has allowed an action against two shipping agents to have counterfeit goods destroyed even though the agents were not found guilty of trademark infringement. The court held that allowing the action was necessary in order to comply with the principles of EU counterfeiting legislation.

21 February 2003

Thomson cruises to victory in FREESTYLE dispute

In Thomson Holidays v Norwegian Cruise Line, the Court of Appeal has issued guidance on how to revise a trademark registration. The court held that specifications in a trademark registration may be amended so that the registration covers customers' perceived uses of the mark.

21 February 2003

Alleged counterfeits seized at request of famous fashion company

The Metropolitan Court of Budapest has issued a provisional injunction ordering the seizure of alleged counterfeit goods bearing the trademarks of a famous fashion company. The injunction ensures that the alleged infringing goods are not released on to the market, even though a related criminal investigation has been dropped owing to lack of evidence.

19 February 2003

Some trademark protection is a national concern, says ECJ

In Robelco NV v Robeco Groep NV, the European Court of Justice has ruled that, pursuant to the Community Trademark Directive, EU member states may determine the scope of protection granted to signs that are similar or identical to registered trademarks when use of the sign is not for the purpose of distinguishing goods or services.

18 February 2003

Competition law amended to restrict trademark monopolies

The Russian government has amended the country's competition legislation so as to reduce the anti-competitive effects of trademark acquisitions and licence agreements.

17 February 2003

Intel blocks registration of INTEL-PLAY

In Intel Corporation v Kirpal Singh Sihra, the High Court has allowed an appeal by Intel and prevented the registration of the trademark INTEL-PLAY. The court held that allowing the registration would dilute the strength of the plaintiff's famous INTEL mark.

12 February 2003

Prior registration of ILS defeats application for ELS

The European Court of First Instance has overturned a decision allowing the registration of the Community trademark ELS. The court held that there was visual and aural similarity, and hence a likelihood of confusion, between the ELS mark and a prior registration of the logo mark ILS in Germany.

10 February 2003

Petit Liberto blocks registration of FIFTIES Community trademark

In Oberhauser v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the decision to refuse the registration of the Community trademark FIFTIES. The court concluded that there was a likelihood of confusion between FIFTIES and the pre-existing Spanish registered trademark MISS FIFTIES.