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19 June 2003

Comparative advertising law clarified in eye-opening decision

The European Court of Justice has clarified the law on comparative advertising set out in Council Directive 84/450. The court held, among other things, that it is for national courts to determine whether the omission of brand names in advertisements comparing branded and unbranded products is capable of being misleading.

17 June 2003

'Trademark exhaustion' doctrine examined for the first time

In a ruling ending a five-year legal battle between the plaintiffs Elite Industries and Elite Romania SRL, and the defendants Graziella Import Export SRL and its owner - Yahya Sadr Kheradmand, the Supreme Court of Justice has, for the first time, analyzed the doctrine of exhaustion of trademark rights set out in the Romanian Trademark Law.

16 June 2003

Production criteria protected in landmark ham and cheese cases

In the Parma ham Case and the Grana Padano Case, the ECJ has found that the production requirements specified to ensure the quality and reputation of a product registered with a protected designation of origin can, in some instances, justify a restriction on the free movement of goods in the European Union.

13 June 2003

Durferrit fails to protect TUFFTRIDE mark

In Durferrit GmbH v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the decision of the OHIM First Board of Appeal to reject Durferrit's opposition to the registration of Kolene Corporation's mark NU-TRIDE based on Durferrit's previously registered mark TUFFTRIDE.

12 June 2003

Grey-goods importer must disclose name of exporter

In Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma KG v GTO Expeditie BV, the Civil Court of The Hague has ordered the defendant, a Dutch importer of grey-market goods, to disclose to the plaintiff the name of the East European exporter of the goods. The court noted that the plaintiff's trademark rights had been violated and the order was necessary to find the source of the infringement.

11 June 2003

New rules govern appeals in intellectual property proceedings

The Civil Procedure (Amendment 2) Rules have come into force. The rules introduce into the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 a new Part 63 - entitled "Patents and other Intellectual Property Claims" - which sets out new time limits for appeal periods and for extensions of time for appeal applications.

11 June 2003

Travelex loses fight over euro symbol

In Travelex Global and Financial Services Ltd v European Commission, the European Court of First Instance has rejected the plaintiff's €25.5 million claim for damages over trademark rights in the euro currency symbol. The court reasoned that the defendant did not use the symbol in the course of trade and therefore did not infringe the plaintiff's rights.

09 June 2003

Supreme Court settles stirred-up CAPPUCCINO dispute

The Supreme Court has annulled the Metropolitan Court's controversial decision to cancel the CAPPUCCINO trademark. In a landmark case involving trademark rights, moral rights and copyrights, as well as unfair competition, the Supreme Court clarified the relative grounds for cancelling a trademark other than the existence of prior trademark rights.

06 June 2003

Arsenal win on the replay

The Court of Appeal has reversed a High Court decision, ruling unanimously in favour of Arsenal Football Club in the latest development in a lengthy battle between the club and an unofficial merchandise trader, Matthew Reed. The ruling represents welcome news to brand owners and is a landmark decision on the scope of the UK trademark infringement provisions.

04 June 2003

Consumer Protection Board takes landmark action in Alko Case

Estonia's Consumer Protection Board has taken the unusual step of taking action in a trademark dispute, deciding to fine local company Amintor OÜ Ekr1,000 for violating the Estonian Advertising Act and infringing the trademark rights of Alko Inc, a Finnish company.

27 May 2003

Freedom of speech trumps infringement claims

In two separate decisions, the Paris Court of Appeal has ruled that Greenpeace's parody of Esso and a nuclear company's marks on its website does not constitute trademark infringement. The court found that (i) the marks are not used for commercial purposes, and (ii) the public is not misled as to the origin of the criticism of the mark owners' activities.

23 May 2003

Harry Potter defeats Tanja Grotter in Dutch court

The Amsterdam District Court has blocked publication in the Netherlands of a Russian children's book that author JK Rowling said was too similar to her Harry Potter books. The court ruled that if released in the Netherlands, the story would violate registered copyrights and trademarks.

23 May 2003

GLENEAGLES Case proceeds to trial

Lord Nimmo Smith has allowed the case of Gleneagles Hotels v Quillco 100 Limited to proceed to trial. Nimmo Smith was satisfied that the owner of the GLENEAGLES mark has a legitimate case of trademark infringement and passing off, even though Quillco uses the mark for film studios, which are not in competition with Gleneagles Hotels' operations.

22 May 2003

Lithuania's two CAMELs must co-exist

In Japan Tobacco Inc v Schrader-Bridgeport International Inc, the Lithuanian District Court for Vilnius has ruled that although the plaintiff's CAMEL mark is well known in Lithuania, it cannot order the cancellation of the defendant's registration of the same mark for different goods.

22 May 2003

Melitta wins big award in metatag case

In Melitta v Coffilter International, the Danish Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that the defendant's use of the MELITTA mark a number of times in its website's hidden metatags infringed the plaintiff's trademark rights because it constituted commercial use within the meaning of the Danish Trademark Act. The court awarded Melitta Dkr100,000 in compensation.