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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.

04 December 2002

CARMEN: single and genuine

The Maritime and Commercial Court has ruled that the single use of the trademark CARMEN constitutes 'genuine use' for the purposes of Article 25 of the Danish Trademarks Act. As a result, the mark cannot be struck off the register for not being used extensively.

02 December 2002

ECJ precludes repackaging of parallel imported medicines

In Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmbH v Kohlpharma GmbH, the European Court of Justice has clarified the consequences of central authorization of pharmaceutical products under Regulation (EEC) 2309/93. As a result, it has precluded a product sold in one EU member state from being repackaged and sold in another.

26 November 2002

Italy responds to EU threats regarding Community trademark courts

The Italian government has amended a bill already before Parliament, providing for the designation of national courts that will have exclusive jurisdiction to hear Community trademark cases. The government was supposed to have made this designation in 1997.

25 November 2002

'Walkman' has become generic, rules Supreme Court

The Austrian Supreme Court has held that Sony's trademark WALKMAN has become a generic term for portable stereos and therefore Sony cannot prevent others from using 'walkman' to describe similar goods.