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30 April 2004

Esso court confirms that free speech can override trademark rights

A Paris court has ruled that the general principle of freedom of speech may be used to create an exception to trademark rights under certain circumstances. This decision rejects Esso's contention that Greenpeace's use of the marks ESSO, STOP ESSO, E$$O and STOP E$$O on its website amounted to infringement.

29 April 2004

Border measures available for first time

Border measures for Serbia and Montenegro have come into force following last year's enactment of the Law on Customs and the amendment last month of its implementing decree. IP owners may now file applications with customs for the detention of counterfeit goods that are imported, exported or in transit. Counterfeit goods may be destroyed - or at least removed from regular channels of trade.

28 April 2004

A summary judgment hearing is not a mini-trial, affirms court

The UK High Court has dismissed Beiersdorf AG's application for summary judgment against a number of parallel importers. It rejected Beiersdorf's assertion that letters, purportedly showing that the alleged infringing products were first marketed in the EEA with Beiersdorf's consent, were forgeries. Noting that summary judgment hearings were no place for a mini-trial, the court stated that the defendants should be allowed to contest the assertion.

27 April 2004

Nemo swims away from injunction threat

The Paris Court of First Instance has refused to grant the owner of a trademark that includes the design of a clown fish a temporary injunction banning the sale in France of products featuring Nemo, the clown fish main character of Disney's animation film Finding Nemo. The court held that the mark and the 'Nemo' design were only tenuously similar.

26 April 2004

IBM succeeds in WEBSPHERE infringement claim

In International Business Machines Corp v Web-Sphere Ltd, the UK High Court has ruled that the defendant's use of the company name Web-Sphere infringed the plaintiff's Community trademark WEBSPHERE. The court dismissed a defence of entitlement as the defendant had changed its name after the plaintiff had launched its WEBSPHERE-marked range of products.

26 April 2004

New law implemented to tackle ambush marketing at Euro 2004

In preparation for the UEFA Euro 2004 football tournament, the Portuguese government has enacted Decree Law 86/2004 to protect the EURO 2004 mark. The new law also aims to tackle ambush marketing but enforcement bodies may face a difficult task in deciding what type of ambush marketing should be prohibited.

22 April 2004

Glaxo summary judgment claim unfit, rules Court of Appeal

The UK Court of Appeal has dismissed Glaxo Group's appeal from a decision to refuse summary judgment against Dowelhurst Ltd. The court held that it was not clear whether Dowelhurst's sale in the EEA of pharmaceuticals that Glaxo had supplied to third parties for export to Africa amounted to trademark infringement, as the contracts between Glaxo and the third-party purchasers did not prohibit the sale of the goods within the EEA.

20 April 2004

Court of Appeal hits the roof in design case

The Court of Appeal has found that a designer of components for conservatory roofs held design rights in the components "on trust" for the various companies of which he was a controlling shareholder. This is in spite of the fact that he was neither employed by, nor commissioned to create the designs for, the companies.

16 April 2004

LANCEL mark owner helps smash counterfeit eyewear operation

A recent case, in which police seized over 150,000 pairs of counterfeit sunglasses that were being sold in Russia under the famous LANCEL mark and had an estimated retail value of $1.5 million, shows that despite the obstacles to enforcement that exist in Russia, it is still possible to obtain very effective results quickly and efficiently.

15 April 2004

Exception to Article 7(2) not applicable in repackaging case

In Kraft Foods v JD Tankstället AB, the Swedish Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court's decision and has ruled that the defendant's repackaging of the plaintiff's trademarked chocolate bars infringed Article 7(2) of the Community Trademark Directive. It held that an exception to Article 7(2) under Swedish law was not applicable.

13 April 2004

MONTESSORI teacher taught lesson on generic use

The Swiss Federal Court has confirmed its strict criteria to determine when a trademark has become generic, finding that the mark MONTESSORI for teaching services had not become descriptive of a particular teaching method in Switzerland.

05 April 2004

Athlete considers further action as runner ads escape real sanction

David Bedford, the former 10,000-metre world record holder, is reportedly planning to bring an action for passing off against directory inquiry operator The Number. This follows a ruling by Ofcom that the two runners featuring 1970s hairstyles and clothing used in The Number's popular 118 118 ads caricatured Bedford without his permission.

31 March 2004

Further guidance from ECJ required in drugs repackaging case

In Glaxo Group Limited v Dowelhurst Limited, the UK Court of Appeal has overturned a decision of the High Court, which held that the repackaging of parallel-imported pharmaceuticals created an irrebuttable presumption of harm to the manufacturer's trademark. The Court of Appeal dismissed this finding but stated that, as the case law in this area was unclear, further guidance from the ECJ was required.

26 March 2004

Parliament adopts IP rights enforcement directive

The European Parliament has adopted the proposal for a directive on measures and procedures to ensure the enforcement of IP rights after reaching a compromise with the European Council of Ministers. The directive is likely to strengthen significantly the position of IP rights holders.

24 March 2004

New Customs Code now in force

The new Customs Code of the Russian Federation, which has introduced a register of goods protected by IP rights, has come into force. It is hoped that the register will help customs authorities to detect counterfeit goods.