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24 May 2005

Gillette loses XTREME battle

In Gillette Company v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld an opposition to the registration of the mark RIGHT GUARD XTREME SPORT for bath and shower products and deodorants. The CFI held that the mark was confusingly similar to an earlier WILKINSON SWORD XTREME III mark for shaving products.

17 May 2005

Board confirms strict criteria for restitutio in integrum requests

In refusing a request for restitutio in integrum, the OHIM Board of Appeal has confirmed that the justification of "excusable error" for not complying with a deadline is of narrow application. The justification will only apply in exceptional circumstances as the strict application of time limits serves the interests of legal certainty and the avoidance of arbitrary treatment.

13 May 2005

No movement in favour of L'Oréal in FLEXI AIR appeal

In L'Oréal SA v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to refuse the registration of FLEXI AIR for goods in Class 3 of the Nice Classification. It agreed that the mark was likely to cause confusion with a prior registered FLEX mark for similar goods.

12 May 2005

'T-' mark series proves fatal for Deutsche Telekom's T-PCS application

The OHIM Board of Appeal has refused to register Deutsche Telekom's T-PCS mark on the grounds that the public was likely to consider that the owner of the earlier Community trademark PCS in relation to similar goods and services had some business connection with Deutsche Telekom. This is because the public recognizes trademarks containing the element 'T-' as indicating Deutsche Telekom as the origin of the goods or services.

11 May 2005

CELLTECH not descriptive for pharmaceutical goods and services

In Celltech R&D Ltd v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has overturned a decision to refuse an application to register the mark CELLTECH for various pharmaceutical goods and services. The court rejected the reasoning that the mark was descriptive, stating that the relevant public would not view the mark purely as an indication of the type of goods and services designated by it.

09 May 2005

Practice notice provides background to design applications

The OHIM has issued a new practice notice in relation to Community designs. The notice clarifies what comprises acceptable graphical representation for the purposes of Article 4 of the Community Design Implementation Regulation. The main clarification provided by the notice relates to what constitutes a "neutral background".

05 May 2005

JELLO SCHUHPARK footwear application kicked out

In Leder & Schuh AG v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision refusing the registration of JELLO SCHUHPARK as a Community trademark. It held there was a risk of confusion between the proposed registration and the prior German word mark SCHUHPARK for clothing and footwear as the relevant public might consider JELLO SCHUHPARK to be an extension of the SCHUHPARK line.

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.