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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.

25 February 2005

NEW BORN BABY ruling abandoned

The ECJ has been thwarted in its attempt to issue a ruling in the NEW BORN BABY Case following the withdrawal of an application to register NEW BORN BABY as a Community trademark. The withdrawal means that the ECJ will not have the chance to examine the legitimacy of the Court of First Instance's reasoning, which suggested that the mark was not descriptive.

22 February 2005


The European Court of First Instance has allowed the marks EMILIO PUCCI and EMIDIO TUCCI to coexist. It held that, while the signs are visually and phonetically similar, the difference between the goods covered by the registered EMIDIO TUCCI mark (Classes 3 and 25 of the Nice Classification) and the proposed registration for EMILIO PUCCI (Classes 18 and 24) was sufficient to preclude any likelihood of confusion.

17 February 2005

Complementary goods sold under similar marks may cause confusion

In Waterford Wedgwood plc v Assembled Investments (Proprietary) Limited, the First Board of Appeal of the OHIM has annulled a decision to dismiss an opposition to the registration of WATERFORD STELLENBOSCH for wine. The board held that since the goods covered by the proposed registration were complementary to glassware products covered by the plaintiff's WATERFORD mark, there was a risk of confusion.

14 February 2005

ECJ confirms cancellation of BSS registration

In Alcon Inc v OHIM, the European Court of Justice has upheld the cancellation of the mark BSS under Article 7(1)(d) of the Community Trademark Regulation. Evidence showed that BSS stands for 'balanced salt solution' - a customary designation for ophthalmic preparations. Accordingly, BSS was precluded from being registered in relation to these goods.

28 January 2005

ECJ rules on PEAK time for exhaustion

In Peak Holding AB v Axolin-Elinor AB, the ECJ has clarified the circumstances in which goods can be described as having been "put on the market" and thereby subject to exhaustion of trademark rights pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Community Trademark Directive. Among other things, the court noted that importing goods and paying the required customs duties with a view to selling them did not mean that they had been put on the market.

27 January 2005

No place for NURSERYROOM on the register

In Geddes v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to refuse the registration of NURSERYROOM as a Community trademark for various goods intended for babies. It held that the mark, made up of the words 'nursery' and 'room', was descriptive of the intended purpose of the goods concerned.

21 January 2005

Sweet mark applications turn sour

The European Court of First Instance has issued two decisions against a confectionery manufacturer. The court refused its applications to register (i) the three-dimensional shape of a sweet in a specific form, and (ii) a figurative mark depicting a twisted wrapper for the same sweet. It reasoned that the marks were not distinctive despite having been used for many years in conjunction with the famous Werther's Original brand.

20 January 2005

No confusion without similarity in conflict of marks with a reputation

In Hallmark Cards Inc v Rolex Promotions SA, the OHIM Board of Appeal has denied the existence of likelihood of confusion between trademarks consisting of different word elements but similar crown devices. Both parties claimed that their marks had a reputation but the board refused to consider this issue in detail, reasoning that reputation cannot come into play if marks are found to be dissimilar.