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16 September 2005

Changes to Community trademark system implemented

Several changes to the Community Trademark Implementation Regulation and Commission Regulation 2869/95 (on the fees payable to the OHIM) have come into force. Among these changes is the possibility for applicants or mark owners to divide Community trademark applications or registrations for a small fee.

15 September 2005

ALADIN opposition wish granted by Court of First Instance

In Reckitt Benckiser SL v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld an opposition to the registration of ALADIN as a Community trademark in Class 3 of the Nice Classification. The court concluded that the opponent had put its Spanish mark ALADDIN for goods in the same class to genuine use and that as a result there was a likelihood of confusion between the two marks.

14 September 2005

Appeal to register pouch shapes unlikely to stand up before ECJ

Advocate General Colomer has issued an opinion recommending that the European Court of Justice affirm the non-registrability of stand-up pouches for fruit drinks as three-dimensional trademarks. Colomer opined that the average consumer will perceive such a shape as a means of packaging a liquid product rather than as an indication of origin, unless the shape differs from commonly used forms, which was not the case here.

13 September 2005

Spa appeal allowed despite lack of information on earlier rights

The European Court of First Instance has held that the OHIM was wrong to dismiss Spa Monopole's opposition against the registration of the mark SPAFORM in finding that Spa Monopole had not correctly identified the rights on which it sought to base its opposition. In so doing, the court suggested a relaxation of the OHIM guidelines regarding the acceptability of an opposition where the precise nature of the earlier rights is not demonstrated.

08 September 2005

Hopes of Corona bottle shape mark registration dashed by ECJ

The European Court of Justice has refused registration to the three-dimensional shape of the Corona beer bottle - a transparent bottle filled with a yellow liquid where the bottle has a long neck in which a slice of lime has been plugged. The court followed the established case law for trademarks consisting of the three-dimensional shape of packaging, finding that the mark lacked inherent or acquired distinctiveness.

06 September 2005

Retail trade services can be protected by trademarks, ECJ rules

In Praktiker Bau- und Heimwerkermärkte AG v OHIM, the European Court of Justice has clarified the scope of the term 'services' as referred to in the Community Trademark Directive. The court held that the term comprises retail trade services and, therefore, such services may be protected by trademarks.

29 July 2005

ECJ ruling could give Nestlé a break

The European Court of Justice has issued its much awaited preliminary ruling in Société des produits Nestlé SA v Mars UK Ltd, holding that a sign that constitutes part of a slogan that is used as a trademark may acquire distinctiveness through use. The ruling implies that Nestlé may be able to register its mark HAVE A BREAK after all.

28 July 2005

Reputation helps weak BEBE in opposition against MONBEBE

The European Court of First Instance's decision to dismiss an appeal by the applicant for the Community trademark MONBEBE has now become final as the applicant, Ampafrance SA, has decided not to appeal further. The court held that although descriptive, the prior German mark BEBE had acquired a reputation for the goods to which it applies, which warranted an increased level of protection against the junior MONBEBE mark for similar goods.

26 July 2005

PAPERLAB application shredded by Court of First Instance

In Metso Paper Automation OY v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the OHIM's refusal to register PAPERLAB as a Community trademark. The case continues the movement away from the BABY-DRY decision and indicates that descriptive marks will have to acquire a secondary meaning before registration will be permitted.

25 July 2005

Dominant figurative element squeezes out opposition

In Shaker di L Laudato & C Sas v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has dismissed an opposition to a Community trademark application for a figurative sign. The court held that as the dominant element of the proposed registration was a figurative representation of a bowl decorated with lemons, it had nothing in common with the word mark that formed the basis of the opposition.

22 July 2005

POWER opposition not strong enough

In Plus Warenhandelsgesellschaft mbh v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has dismissed an opposition action against the registration of a figurative trademark consisting of the words 'Turkish Power' with a lion's head in between the two words. The court held that there was no likelihood that the mark would be confused with an earlier POWER mark.

21 July 2005

BIOID.® decision contravenes SAT.2 ruling, says advocate general

Advocate General Léger has called on the ECJ to annul the European Court of First Instance's decision in a case involving the figurative mark BIOID.®. Although Léger agreed with the court's final decision to refuse registration, he opined that, in light of the ECJ's findings in the SAT.2 Case, the court had misinterpreted Article 7(1)(b) of the Community Trademark Regulation.

20 July 2005

ROCKBASS mark lacks distinctiveness

In Wilfer v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision of the OHIM Board of Appeal and has found that the mark ROCKBASS for sound and music-related goods lacked distinctiveness. The court endorsed the opinion of the Board of Appeal and held that ROCKBASS designates a bass guitar that is suitable for rock music or any type of music played with a bass guitar.

19 July 2005

OHIM issues new draft guidelines

The OHIM has published two new sets of draft guidelines for proceedings before the OHIM. One draft concerns the procedures relating to changes in an application or registration; the other draft is to replace the existing Part A of the OHIM guidelines and deals with general provisions on proceedings before the OHIM, including use of languages, notifications, calculation of time limits and costs.

18 July 2005

Card manufacturer dealt a blow by cancellation decision

In Naipes Heraclio Fournier SA v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to cancel the registration of three figurative Community trademarks covering "playing cards". The court held that, as the marks were representations of symbols typically used for Spanish playing cards, there was a direct and specific association between the marks and the goods specified in the registration, meaning that the marks were descriptive.