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20 October 2003

Coexisting French marks conflict in European Union

In Esprit International v Esprit de France, an OHIM Board of Appeal has allowed the owner of the ESPRIT mark's opposition to the registration of ESPRIT DE FRANCE as a Community trademark. The ruling contrasts with an earlier decision from the French courts that found that there was no risk of confusion between the two signs.

17 October 2003

Deadline looming for hassle-free extension of Community trademark rights

Businesses wishing to benefit from the automatic and free extension of their Community trademark rights to the countries joining the European Union on May 1 2004 have until November 1 to file their Community trademark applications. Those filing after November 1 may see their application opposed on the basis of prior national rights in the acceding countries.

13 October 2003

BUDMEN likely to be confused with BUD

In José Alejandro SL v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has refused an application for registration of the Spanish mark BUDMEN as a Community trademark for goods in Class 25 of the Nice Classification. The court held that there was a likelihood of confusion with US brewer Anheuser Busch's BUD mark.

06 October 2003

'Best Buy' not distinctive rules Court of First Instance

In Best Buy Concepts Inc v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to reject registration of a trademark made up of a price tag design featuring the words 'best buy'. The court stated that the principles in the BABY-DRY Case, suggesting that a mark's distinctive character be assessed with reference to the mark as a whole, do not preclude an examination of the distinctiveness of the differing elements making up the mark.

10 September 2003

OHIM launches e-filing for Community designs

As part of a move towards a paperless system, the OHIM has started accepting electronic filing for Community designs. This enables applicants to upload images and other attachments in convenient formats without degrading the originals, but requires the manual entry of data in a lengthy online form.

31 July 2003

OHIM introduces electronic search for Community designs

The OHIM has introduced a search facility for Community designs, thus enabling applicants and practitioners to monitor their own and competitors' applications and registrations without resorting to reading the entire Community Design Bulletin. The search fields are, however, limited.

22 July 2003

European Union one step closer to amended trademark law

The European Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market has issued its report on the proposed changes to the Community Trademark Regulation, building on the Commission's proposal issued earlier this year. The text is expected to be approved by the EU Parliament in September.

07 July 2003

OHIM not in breach of principle of equal treatment

The European Court of First Instance has ruled that applications for Community trademark registration must be judged solely against the Community Trademark Regulation and not against the OHIM's previous decisions and practice. In so doing, the court rejected the argument that in refusing the applications at issue, the OHIM had breached the principle of equal treatment.

27 June 2003

Law on three-dimensional marks knocked into shape by ECJ

In three joined cases referred by the German Supreme Court, the European Court of Justice has ruled that, pursuant to the Community Trademark Directive, the assessment of the distinctive character of three-dimensional shape marks is not stricter than that used for other types of trademark but that shape marks must overcome a number of additional barriers to registration.

24 June 2003

Dishwasher tablets are devoid of distinctive character, rules CFI

In Unilever NV v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has affirmed a Board of Appeal decision to reject the registration of a three-dimensional tablet form as a Community trademark for dishwasher detergent. The court found that the irregular ovoid shape lacks distinctive character.

13 June 2003

Durferrit fails to protect TUFFTRIDE mark

In Durferrit GmbH v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the decision of the OHIM First Board of Appeal to reject Durferrit's opposition to the registration of Kolene Corporation's mark NU-TRIDE based on Durferrit's previously registered mark TUFFTRIDE.

12 June 2003

Board of Appeal must respect principle of fairness

The European Court of First Instance has ruled that the OHIM Board of Appeal may not base a decision on facts that were not considered by the Opposition Division without informing the plaintiff. This, ruled the court, would rob the plaintiff of a chance to respond and therefore breach the principle of fairness.

06 June 2003

Trademark regulation does not infringe 'equality of languages' principle

Advocate General Jacobs has ruled that Article 115 of the Community Trademark Regulation, requiring an applicant for a Community trademark to indicate English, French, German, Italian or Spanish as a second language, does not infringe the 'equality of languages' principle set out in Article 12 of the EC Treaty.

05 June 2003

France labelled as anti-competitive by ECJ

In European Commission v French Republic, the European Court of Justice has ruled that France's policy of offering national legal protection to geographical indications that are not covered by EU Council Regulation 2081/92 restricts imports between member states in breach of EU competition law.

03 June 2003

Retro radiator grille is registrable

In DaimlerChrysler Corporation v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has reversed the decision of the OHIM Board of Appeal to reject the registration of the representation of a radiator grille. The court found that the retro style of the grille makes it sufficiently distinctive to warrant registration.