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23 September 2004

Unambiguous evidence of consent required for parallel imports

In Quiksilver Pty Ltd v Charles Robertson (Developments) Limited, trading as Trago Mills, the High Court of England and Wales has affirmed that parallel importers of goods bearing a registered trademark must provide evidence of unambiguous consent by the mark owner to the placing of its goods on the market in the European Economic Area. Mere silence on the part of the brand owner is not sufficient to evidence consent.

13 September 2004

Compensation for BMW in mobile phone logo infringement case

In Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v Cellus Norge AS, the Oslo City Court has ruled that the defendant's sale of logos and wallpapers for mobile phones that included the plaintiff's famous BMW logo infringed the plaintiff's trademark rights. The court accepted the defendant's proposal that it pay Nkr20,000 in compensation to the plaintiff.

10 September 2004

Italy and China set for greater cooperation on IP rights protection

The Italian and Chinese governments have entered into an agreement on the protection of IP rights that will set up a framework for closer links between officials in both countries' IP agencies. The agreement comes in response to pressure from Italian companies who are becoming increasingly worried by the level of counterfeit products entering the market from China.

31 August 2004

Registered LERNSTUDIO mark descriptive, rules Supreme Court

The Swiss Supreme Court has dismissed an infringement action on the basis that the mark LERNSTUDIO was descriptive. It noted that although the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property had allowed registration of the mark based on evidence that it had acquired secondary meaning, the threshold of proof for secondary meaning is higher in judicial proceedings than in administrative proceedings.

29 July 2004

Use of LINDOWS mark in small print is legitimate

The District Court of Amsterdam has rejected Microsoft's claim that the use of the LINDOWS mark in small print on Lindows's website and manuals breaches a January ruling that ordered Lindows to cease using the mark and trade name in Benelux. Although Microsoft has since settled the LINDOWS trademark suits, the decision, which seems to indicate that minor infringements may be overlooked by Dutch courts, may create some uncertainty.

27 July 2004

New customs department will combat counterfeit and pirated goods

Hungary has established the Intellectual Property Enforcement Department in order to prevent the importation of pirated and counterfeit goods from other countries. IP rights holders may request that the department take action to prevent or suspend the release of such goods into circulation. The only problem is that the new rules are not in compliance with new EU regulations that took effect on July 1.

26 July 2004

Validity of Veuve Clicquot's orange mark affirmed

The Brussels Court of Appeals has (i) upheld the validity of an orange colour mark owned by Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, manufacturer of the famous Veuve Clicquot champagne, and (ii) issued an order preventing the use of this colour for beer.

23 July 2004

Roche receives remedy in RENNIE infringement decision

In Roche Consumer Health (Worldwide) Ltd v Vitabalans Oy, the Supreme Court of Finland has confirmed the well-known status in Finland of the plaintiff's RENNIE mark for an indigestion remedy and has ruled that the defendant's use of RENICHEW for a similar product infringed that mark.

22 July 2004

Microsoft obtains summary judgment against HOTMAIL infringer

The Paris Court of First Instance has granted Microsoft summary judgment on its claim for an injunction restraining the use by a French company of its Community trademark HOTMAIL in an email address used for mass emailing. The decision seems to be the first issued in summary proceedings on the basis of a Community trademark.

21 July 2004

Metatag use of trademark is not infringement, court rules

The Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf has ruled that the use of another party's mark in metatags neither infringes trademark rights nor violates unfair competition law. It reasoned that such use is not trademark use as, among other things, metatags are not (i) visible to internet users, and (ii) capable of characterizing either the company that is using them, or the goods and services sold by that company.

12 July 2004

Repackaging case referred to ECJ for a second time

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has referred 14 questions to the ECJ in the case of Glaxo Group Limited v Dowelhurst Limited, a long-running parallel import repackaging case. This is the second time a court has referred questions to the ECJ in this case, thus demonstrating the confusion and uncertainty that remain with regards to repackaging.

08 July 2004

Parallel importer may use design similar to producer’s mark

The Norwegian Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeal ruling that parallel importer Paranova’s design used on repackaged boxes of Merck’s products infringed Merck’s trademark. Instead of considering whether the repackaging and design were necessary to enter the Norwegian market, the Supreme Court considered the interests of both parties and held that Paranova’s design was not liable to damage Merck’s reputation or that of its trademark.

05 July 2004

New rules make it tougher to get infringing goods across borders

The implementation of a new regulation last week gives rights holders a better chance of stopping counterfeiters bringing infringing goods into the European Union. The new regulation clarifies and strengthens existing procedures, including removing the requirement that rights holders pay a fee or provide security when asking customs authorities to investigate and detain suspect goods.

23 June 2004

McDonald's outwitted in MCSMART dispute

The District Court of Utrecht has refused to order the cancellation of the Benelux mark MCSMART used in conjunction with the sale of, among other things, articles related to the smoking of cannabis. The court held that the registration would not cause confusion with, nor dilute, McDonald's series of MC trademarks.

22 June 2004

Implementing regulation of Industrial Property Code in force

The Portuguese National Industrial Property Institute has finally issued the last implementing regulation of the Industrial Property Code, in force since July 1 2003. The regulation incorporates some provisions included in regulations issued last year, which have now been revoked.