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12 November 2004

Government targets counterfeiting and piracy with new IP crime strategy

Demonstrating its commitment to tackling the growing problem of IP crime, the UK government has launched a national IP crime strategy. The strategy, which is just one of a series of measures to protect "creativity in the knowledge community", is designed to bring together policy makers, IP owners and enforcers to coordinate their approach to IP crime.

08 November 2004

EU accession to Madrid Protocol leads to changes to UK law

Following the European Union's accession to the Madrid Protocol on October 1 2004, the United Kingdom has introduced new regulations to protect international registrations that designate the European Union. The new regulations extend the same level of protection to these registrations as to Community trademarks.

04 November 2004

Supermarket runs out of luck in sports shoe dilution case

In adidas-Salomon AG v Alcampo SA, First Instance Court 58 of Madrid has ordered the defendant to stop importing and selling training shoes featuring a three-stripe design. It held that (i) the design infringed the plaintiff's well-known three-stripe mark, and (ii) the defendant had taken unfair advantage of the plaintiff's reputation.

03 November 2004

New IP courts may help to reduce forum shopping

In Croci Trading Srl v Ferplast SpA, the Tribunal of Milan, Specialist Intellectual Property Division has ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear a dispute filed against an alleged trademark infringer based in Venice. The decision highlights that the creation of Specialist Intellectual Property Divisions within the Italian courts may be helping to curb the practice known as 'forum shopping'.

03 November 2004

VELLUM infringed despite distribution agreement

The Arnhem District Court has ordered the former distributor of Ashlar Inc's VELLUM trademarked software in Benelux to cease all use of the mark in Benelux. The court held that as the distributor had been set up for the exclusive purpose of distributing VELLUM-marked products, it could not claim prior rights in the mark, even though it registered it in Benelux before Ashlar did.

01 November 2004

Antitrust ruling will damage WINDOWS mark, says Microsoft

Microsoft has started appeal proceedings in the European Court of First Instance against the European Commission's antitrust ruling regarding Microsoft's abuse of its market dominance in relation to operating systems. Microsoft claims that the ruling, which prevents it from including media player software with its European versions of Windows, will permanently damage its trademark.

27 October 2004

Google obtains transfer of 'google.no'

The Oslo District Court has ordered the transfer of the domain name 'google.no' from a Norwegian company to US search engine company Google Inc. Even though the mark GOOGLE and the domain name 'google.no' are not used in relation to identical or similar goods and services, the court found that there was a likelihood of confusion as the mark GOOGLE is also its owner's company name.

26 October 2004

Schering succeeds in halting infringing parallel imports

In Schering AG v Aktuapharma, the Brussels Court of Appeal has ruled that the defendant's parallel importation and repackaging of the plaintiff's pharmaceutical product Femodene infringed the plaintiff's trademark rights. The court also laid down the conditions under which further parallel importation of the plaintiff's product could take place.

20 October 2004

Patent Office seeks comments on Community designs proposals

The UK Patent Office has started a formal consultation on certain aspects of the operation of UK legislation relating to Community designs. The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on a number of possibilities for legislation to ensure that the Community designs system works correctly in the United Kingdom.

12 October 2004

Mars's injunction request is not the cat's WHISKAS

The High Court of England and Wales has denied Mars UK Ltd's application for an interim injunction in its action against Burgess Group plc. The court held that Burgess's use of (i) purple on its cat food packaging, and (ii) an advertising slogan similar to the one used by Mars for its WHISKAS-marked products did not constitute infringement or passing off.

07 October 2004

Benetton's marks COLOR-fast against infringement action

The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that Benetton's COLORS series of trademarks for clothes do not infringe Dama SpA's rights in prior marks also containing the word 'colors' for similar products. The court held that (i) Dama's marks are combination marks, and (ii) such marks are infringed only when their various elements are reproduced in a confusingly similar combination, which was not the case with Benetton's marks.

05 October 2004

No unregistered design rights in clothing colourways

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a claim of infringement of unregistered design rights in the colourways on a tracksuit-style top. The court held, among other things, that colourways on such items of clothing (i) were not an "aspect of shape or configuration" subject to automatic protection as unregistered designs, and (ii) fell within the surface decoration exclusion.

04 October 2004

Coinworld hits jackpot in slot machine infringement case

In Electrocoin Automatics Limited v Coinworld Limited, the High Court of England and Wales has ruled that the defendant's use of the symbols BAR, X and O in various arrangements on its slot and fruit machines' reels and win tables did not constitute trademark use and, thus, did not infringe the plaintiff's marks BAR-X and OXO for the same products. The court also dismissed a claim that the mark BEAR-X infringed BAR-X.

30 September 2004

Government takes on IP crime in major new initiative

The secretary of state for trade and industry has announced a series of new initiatives to protect and promote "creativity in the knowledge economy". The measures are concerned with those industries based around the generation and exploitation of intellectual property, and focus on tackling IP crime and improving the enforcement process.

27 September 2004

Commission to move on controversial repairs clause?

The European Commission has at last published its proposed changes to the controversial "repairs clause" in the Community Designs Directive. Under the commission's proposal, the directive would be amended to remove the member states' option to maintain design protection for automobile spare parts. Automobile spare parts manufacturers had accused the commission of dragging its heels over its decision to liberalize completely the EU spare parts market.