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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.

05 December 2003

European Union to join Madrid Protocol in 2004

After seven years of negotiations, the EU Council of Ministers has approved accession to the Madrid Protocol, thus linking the international trademark registration system with the Community trademark system. The council also approved a regulation making the necessary changes to the Community Trademark Regulation. Membership is likely to take effect in late 2004.

04 December 2003

Technology licensing law changes to affect trademark licensing

The European Commission has proposed changes to the Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation, which exempts certain types of agreement from the application of Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty. If adopted, the proposal could have an impact on technology and (ancillary) trademark licensing.

03 December 2003

Employee's evidence of trademark use needs further consideration

In Henkel KGaA v OHIM, the Court of First Instance has overturned a decision to reject an opposition to the registration of KLEENCARE filed by Henkel - the owner of a CARCLIN mark. The court held that the Board of Appeal had incorrectly refused to (i) reconsider the substance of an employee's statement outlining evidence of use of the CARCLIN mark, and (ii) admit fresh evidence.

27 November 2003

Community Trademark Regulation language regime is legal

In Kik v OHIM, the ECJ has upheld the legality and clarified the application of the language regime set out in Article 115 of the Community Trademark Regulation. The language regime requires that parties involved in Community trademark proceedings before the OHIM indicate English, French, German, Italian or Spanish as a second language.

20 November 2003

OHIM limits protection afforded to short marks

In STO Aktiengesellschaft v STC Sanitary Engineering Technical Completion Srl, the OHIM has ruled that the marks STC and STO are not confusingly similar, even though they are used on identical goods. The decision indicates that the OHIM considers the scope of protection for short marks very narrow.

13 November 2003

EU parliament approves proposed changes to trademark regulation

The European Parliament has approved the European Commission's proposal to amend the Community Trademark Regulation. Because the commission is not bound to consider the changes suggested by the the Legal Affairs Committee's report on the proposal, the last hurdle is the unanimous adoption of the proposal by the European Council of Ministers.

05 November 2003

ECJ reverses DOUBLEMINT decision

The European Court of Justice has reversed the Court of First Instance's decision that the mark DOUBLEMINT was capable of registration, finding that the lower court should have concluded that the mark was descriptive, as designating a characteristic of the goods for which registration was being sought.

31 October 2003

OHIM explains use of international class headings

At the request of Community trademark owners, applicants and practitioners, the president of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has clarified the office's position on the use of the class headings of the Nice Classification in Community trademark applications.