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07 February 2003

Trademark Law amended to prevent piracy

Changes to the Russian Trademark Law have come into force. The amendments - which bring Russia one step closer to WTO membership - draw a clear line between genuine and counterfeit goods, and toughen the penalties for counterfeiting.

04 February 2003

Brewer banned from naming product 'Champagnebier'

Applying Belgian law on geographical indications and fair trade practices, the Nivelles Commercial Court has ordered beer producer SA de Landtsheer to cease using the word 'champagne' in relation to its new product, as well as the slogan 'the beer world's answer to Veuve Cliquot'.

29 January 2003

New Spanish Trademark Law comes into force

New trademark legislation has come into force in Spain, replacing the Trademark Law of 1988. The new law takes into account various international agreements and EU trademark regulations, most notably the Community Trademark Directive.

28 January 2003

Differences in spelling may prevent confusion

In an incongruous decision, the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg has ruled that the use of the domain name '' and related email address root '' does not infringe rights in the registered trademark and trade name PUBLIKOM because internet users are able to recognize differences in spelling.

27 January 2003

Tobacco Products Directive does not infringe trademark rights

Following the opinion of Advocate General Geelhoed, the European Court of Justice has held that the Tobacco Products Directive, which prohibits the use of marks such as 'mild' or 'light' in connection with tobacco products, does not infringe the trademark rights of tobacco companies.

27 January 2003

Levi's secret marks remain a secret, rules court

The High Court of the Canton Zurich has affirmed the conviction of a wholesaler for selling fake Levi's jeans. The court upheld the first-instance ruling allowing Levi's to conceal from the court and the defendant the details of secret marks found only on genuine products.

24 January 2003

Amended law protects trademark owners against counterfeiters

The Czech government has amended its intellectual property law in order to provide trademark owners with better protection against imports of counterfeit goods. The amended law allows customs authorities to determine whether goods are counterfeit and, in undisputed cases, have the goods destroyed.

23 January 2003

Dutch courts rule 'INTERMEDIAIR' marks are distinctive

In Intermediair Uitzendbureau BV v VNU Business Publications BV, the Court of Appeals for Arnhem has refused to invalidate trademarks registered by the defendant that include the word 'intermediair' (meaning intermediary). The court held that although the word is descriptive, VNU's trademarks had become well known and distinctive through use.

21 January 2003

Supreme Court precludes oral use of trademark

The Supreme Court of Estonia has issued its decision in the case of Eesti Raadio v OÜ Juturaadio. The court ruled that reproduction of a registered trademark is not necessary for infringement; oral use of the trademark is sufficient.

20 January 2003

Arsenal win in Europe but suffer shock defeat at home

In Arsenal Football Club plc v Reed, the High Court has, for the first time, refused to apply a judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the grounds that the ECJ had exceeded its jurisdiction by making its own findings of fact. The case involved the selling of unofficial football souvenirs featuring Arsenal trademarks.

17 January 2003

Trademark owners to benefit from EU enlargement

Parties with trademark rights in EU member states will benefit from the European Council's decision to allow 10 new member states. Among other things, many Community trademark registrations and applications will be extended automatically to include the new members without any additional fees.

16 January 2003

Lithuanian court finds Nestra guilty of 'trademark theft'

In Stada Arzneimittel AG v Nestra Limited, Lithuania's Court of Appeal has, for the first time, affirmed a district court's decision that a UK company's registration of the trademark PFEIL ZAHNSCHMERTZ-TABLETTEN is invalid on the grounds of unfair competition.

14 January 2003

'Champagne' goodwill cannot be used to flavour yoghurt

The Swedish Market Court has issued a decision against Arla Foods AB for its use of the term 'champagne' in relation to yoghurt. The court found that the advertising was an obvious case of intentional misappropriation of goodwill, and was misleading in respect of the product's content and flavour.

13 December 2002

Cubatabaco wins European cigar wars

Swedish Match and Cubatabaco have signed a settlement agreement, ending several proceedings across Europe for infringement of the designation of origin 'Havana'. Swedish Match agreed to stop using the name 'Wilde Havana' for the cigars its subsidiaries have been manufacturing and distributing since the 1970s.

12 December 2002

Tobacco marks restricted as being contrary to public policy

A number of tobacco companies have failed to convince Advocate General Geelhoed of the European Court of Justice that EU restrictions on the labelling and marketing of tobacco products diminish the value of the goodwill they enjoy in their trademarks.