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12 March 2004

Shape marks for pouches do not stand up to CFI test

In Deutsche SiSi-Werke GmbH & Co Betriebs KG v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has refused the registration of the shapes of stand-up pouches as three-dimensional Community marks for fruit juice. The court applied stricter criteria than in Nestlé Waters, where it found that a minimum degree of distinctive character is sufficient to warrant registration.

11 March 2004

Neologism comprising descriptive elements is not registrable

The ECJ has ruled that a mark consisting of a neologism made up of elements that are themselves descriptive of the characteristics of the goods or services covered by the registration is itself descriptive of those characteristics pursuant to Article 3(1)(c) of the Community Trademark Directive, unless there is a perceptible difference between the neologism and the mere sum of its parts.

08 March 2004

ECJ urged to overturn Libertel

In the case of Heidelberger Bauchemie GmbH, Advocate General Léger has issued an opinion stating that colour combinations are not registrable as trademarks. The opinion seems to contradict the ECJ's decision in the Libertel Case, in which it held that a single colour can, in principle, be registered as a trademark.

05 March 2004

BUDĚJOVICKÝ BUDVAR registrations upheld by Board of Appeal

In two cases opposing Anheuser-Busch and Budějovický Budvar, the OHIM Board of Appeal has upheld the latter's registrations of marks that include the words 'Budějovický Budvar'. The board found that the marks are dissimilar visually, phonetically and conceptually to Anheuser-Busch's BUD mark, thus making confusion unlikely.

24 February 2004

Bottle shape mark decision may be a breakthrough

In Nestlé Waters France v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has overturned a decision to refuse the registration of the three-dimensional shape of a bottle as a Community trademark. It ruled that a shape, made up of various elements that individually may be devoid of any distinctive character, can be registered if those elements are combined in such a way as to give the shape the required level of distinctiveness.

18 February 2004

Descriptive foreign terms are registrable, rules court

The European Court of First Instance has refused the registration of the Community trademark KIAP MOU (meaning 'crispy pork' in Thai) on the grounds that it is confusingly similar to a prior registered MOU mark. The court upheld (i) the validity of the earlier MOU mark, and (ii) the principle that descriptive terms are registrable as trademarks if the description is in a language not known in the jurisdiction in question.

13 February 2004

Audi's TDI registration crashes out

In Audi AG v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to reject the registration of TDI (an acronym for turbo diesel injection) as a Community trademark. The court confirmed a number of principles relating to marks made up of acronyms and held that the TDI mark lacked distinctiveness.

03 February 2004

Amendments to Community trademark searches approved

The EU Council has agreed to amendments to Article 39 of the Community Trademark Regulation, which sets out the requirements for searches for prior trademark rights. Under the amendments, the OHIM will continue to conduct a search for any prior and conflicting Community trademarks, however, reports from national trademark offices will become optional, at the request of the applicant.

30 January 2004

OHIM issues guidelines for Community trademark renewals

The Community trademark will be 10 years old in 2006 and the first renewals will take place at that time. With this in mind, the president of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has issued guidelines for Community trademark owners setting out the requirements for renewal.

29 January 2004

Brakes put on QUICK registration for fast food

In Quick Restaurants SA v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to reject the registration of QUICK as a Community trademark for fast food. The court held, among other things, that English-speaking consumers would see a direct link between QUICK and the goods it was supposed to distinguish.

26 January 2004

Advocate general against protecting dishwasher tablets

In his opinion on the joined cases of Henkel KGaA v OHIM and Procter & Gamble v OHIM, Advocate General Colomer has agreed with the decision of the European Court of First Instance to reject various Community trademark applications for three-dimensional marks consisting of the shape of dishwasher tablets.

22 January 2004

ASTERIX outfought in opposition to STARIX

In Les Editions Albert René v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to reject the plaintiff's opposition to the registration of STARIX as a Community trademark. It held that the proposed registration was not confusingly similar to the well-known ASTERIX mark.

14 January 2004

Für Elise decision creates a new sound in trademark law

The European Court of Justice has rendered a landmark decision in Shield Mark BV v Kist, ruling that a sound may be registered as a trademark if it is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of others and is capable of being represented graphically.

11 December 2003

OLDENBURGER registration for dairy products turns sour

In Nordmilch eG v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld an OHIM decision to reject registration of OLDENBURGER for various dairy products. The court held that the term was very similar to Oldenburg - the name of a German town - and was therefore capable of constituting an indication of geographical origin.

08 December 2003

Guidance on deadline for restitutio in integrum claims issued

In Classen Holding KG v OHIM, the Court of First Instance has issued guidance on the application of the principle of restitutio in integrum (meaning 'restitution to the original position') in Article 78 of the Community Trademark Regulation. The court stated that the grace period for an application for restitutio in integrum must be strictly applied.