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15 April 2005

(3) capable of functioning as a trademark

The OHIM Board of Appeal has annulled a decision to refuse registration of the mark (3) on the grounds that it was devoid of distinctive character. Contrary to the examiner, the Board of Appeal found that a number enclosed in brackets is not likely to be perceived as an ordinal in the absence of any matter outside the brackets. Accordingly, the sign is capable of functioning as a trademark.

13 April 2005

HAI mark owner nets win following SHARK attack

In Osotspa Co Ltd v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to refuse an opposition to the registration of HAI as a Community trademark. The court held that although the proposed registration consisted of the German word for 'shark' and covered similar goods to the opponent's prior registered SHARK mark, there was no likelihood of confusion.

11 April 2005

HOOLIGAN fights off challenge from OLLY GAN

In Société provençale d'achat et de gestion SA v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has dismissed an opposition to the registration of HOOLIGAN as a Community trademark. Among other things, the court held that there was no likelihood of confusion with the opponent's OLLY GAN mark for the same type of goods.

01 April 2005

Differing conclusions reached in surname mark rulings

The CFI has issued two rulings in seemingly analogous cases dealing with the likelihood of confusion in marks composed of a forename and a surname. In the first case, the CFI held that ENZO FUSCO and ANTONIO FUSCO were confusingly similar, while in the second it ruled that SISSI ROSSI and MISS ROSSI were not confusingly similar. However, the distinguishable facts of the cases justify these opposite conclusions.

31 March 2005

OHIM fees set to be overhauled

The European Commission's Trademark Working Group has started a series of meetings to examine a draft regulation amending Regulation 2869/95 on the fees payable to the OHIM. The draft proposes changes in the levels of fees, notably for new applications, renewals, appeals and proceedings to revoke or invalidate a Community trademark. The proposal comes as a consequence of the OHIM's accumulated budget surplus of €92 million.

23 March 2005

NEGRA MODELO beer mark downed by Court of First Instance

In Cervecería Modelo SA de CV v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld an opposition to the registration of NEGRA MODELO as a Community trademark for beer. The court held that there was a likelihood of confusion with an earlier MODELO national registration for the same type of goods.

21 March 2005

Word sequences forming part of slogan marks are registrable

Advocate General Kokott has issued an opinion in the case of Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Mars UK Ltd - a dispute over the registration of the slogan HAVE A BREAK as a trademark. Kokott opined that although the word sequence for the proposed mark had only ever been used as part of the HAVE A BREAK ... HAVE A KIT KAT slogan mark, it had acquired the requisite distinctive character to allow registration.

17 March 2005

Wisdom of BIOKNOWLEDGE refusal backed by CFI

In Proteome Inc v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the refusal of Proteome Inc's application to register BIOKNOWLEDGE as a Community trademark in Classes 9, 16 and 42. It agreed that the mark is (i) devoid of distinctive character for those goods and services, and (ii) comprised exclusively of terms that describe those goods and services.

15 March 2005

Descriptiveness debate reopened in EUROPREMIUM Case

The European Court of First Instance has reversed the refusal to register EUROPREMIUM for, among other things, packaging materials and delivery services. The court held that in order to refuse a mark on the basis that it is descriptive, it must "designate in a specific, precise and objective manner the essential characteristics of the goods and services in issue", which was not the case with EUROPREMIUM.

11 March 2005

No protection for retail services without further detail

Advocate General Léger has issued an opinion clarifying the principles that apply to the registration of marks for retail services. Léger stated that such marks are eligible for registration but the services have to be specified in detail and the goods in respect of which the services are carried out have to be indicated. Mere use of the terms 'retailing' or 'retail services' in an application is not sufficient to confer protection.

10 March 2005

Metal marks appeal melts away

The European Court of First Instance has upheld the refusal to register SNTEM, SNPUR and SNMIX as Community trademarks for goods made of tin and tin alloys. It held that (i) specialists would recognize 'Sn' as the chemical symbol for tin, and (ii) the suffixes ('TEM', 'PUR' and 'MIX') were descriptive of products made from tempered tin, pure tin and tin alloys, respectively.

08 March 2005

Tiffany's application cut short by disposable tableware manufacturer

The OHIM Board of Appeal has upheld an opposition by the owner of the French device mark TIFANY for plastic and disposable tableware against Tiffany & Co's application to register the three-dimensional shape of its blue box bearing the word mark TIFFANY & CO for fine cutlery. The board held that the dominant element of Tiffany's application - the word mark - made it confusingly similar to the earlier mark.

07 March 2005

Clarified rules for OHIM Boards of Appeal implemented

New rules setting out the organization and procedures of the OHIM's Boards of Appeal have come into force following the implementation of Commission Regulation 2082/2004. Among other things, the rules provide for an enlarged board, comprised of nine members, which will decide particularly complex issues.

03 March 2005

LINDENHOF and LINDERHOF marks are not confusing

In Lidl Stiftung & Co KG v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the OHIM's decision to register LINDENHOF as a Community trademark for non-alcoholic drinks. It held that there was no risk of confusion with the earlier German mark LINDERHOF TROCKEN for sparkling wines.

02 March 2005

Death of representative bad news for NICE DAY opponent

In DA Paloma Santaolalla Martínez v Steyerberger Bekleidungswerk GmbH, the OHIM Board of Appeal has ruled that the time limits for filing an opposition provided by the Community Trademark Implementation Regulation can only be set aside where there are compelling reasons for doing so. In the case at hand, it noted that the death of the opponent's trademark representative was not a compelling reason.