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22 April 2003

Distinctiveness required on application date, rules court

In eCopy Inc v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has held that the distinctive character of a sign must be acquired by the date on which the application is made to register the sign as a Community trademark.

14 April 2003

'BioID' is descriptive, rules Court of First Instance

In BioID AG v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld an OHIM decision, refusing the registration of the term 'BioID.®'. The court agreed that the term is directly descriptive of the qualities of the goods and services to which it relates.

09 April 2003

Procter & Gamble's soap-bar shape registration scrubbed out

In Procter & Gamble v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has, at the second attempt, upheld the OHIM's refusal to register as a three-dimensional figurative Community trademark the shape of a bar of soap manufactured by Procter & Gamble because it is devoid of distinctive character.

04 April 2003

KERRY SPRING registration steams through

In Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co v Kerry Group plc, the Board of Appeal for the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market has upheld a decision to allow the registration of KERRY SPRING. The board held that it was unlikely that consumers would confuse the trademark with Gerolsteiner Brunnen's GERRI mark.

03 April 2003

European Court of Justice set to rule on DOUBLEMINT registration

The ECJ has heard the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market's appeal against a Court of First Instance decision, allowing The Wrigley Company's DOUBLEMINT Community trademark registration for chewing gum. The ECJ's judgment should further clarify the test for determining the distinctiveness or descriptiveness of a trademark.

31 March 2003

HIWATT owner loses opposition hearing

In Fernandes v OHIM, the European Court of First Instance has ruled that the plaintiff's use of the registered mark HIWATT does not constitute genuine use and therefore the plaintiff may not oppose the registration of the sign by other parties.

26 March 2003

Community Trademark Regulation may be overhauled

The European Commission has proposed several changes to the Community Trademark Regulation in order to improve the procedures for appointing the OHIM Board of Appeals, the consistency of board decisions, and access to the Community trademark system.

18 March 2003

ECJ opens door for wine mark registrations

The European Court of Justice has ruled that a trademark registry may accept an application for a mark made in respect of wine and including a geographical name that is not a specified geographical reference under European law if the mark is not likely to influence consumers' economic behaviour.

17 March 2003

ECJ defines trademark 'genuine use' in landmark case

The European Court of Justice has just set out the test to be applied when deciding whether or not a trademark has been put to genuine use. The court was ruling on questions referred by the Supreme Court of the Netherlands in Ansul BV v Ajax Brandbeveiliging BV.

12 March 2003

'Real People, Real Solutions' not registrable

The European Court of First Instance has upheld an OHIM Board of Appeal's decision refusing to register the slogan 'Real People, Real Solutions' as a Community trademark. The court reasoned that there is nothing about the slogan to enable the public to consider it as a distinctive trademark or source of origin.

10 March 2003

Plans underway to expand list of GIs and DOs

The European Parliament has adopted the European Commission's proposal to update the EU regulation protecting geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs. The amendments, if accepted by the European Council, will bring the regulation in line with international trade rules.

28 February 2003

Trademarks high on the agenda at Intellectual Property Forum 2003

Simpson's-in-the-Strand in London this week successfully hosted the Intellectual Property Forum 2003. A panel of over 20 high-calibre speakers including the vice president for legal affairs at the OHIM discussed recent European developments in trademark law.

14 February 2003

Single-colour registration not possible, says advocate general

Advocate General Léger has issued an opinion which, if followed by the European Court of Justice, may prevent the registration of single colours as trademarks or service marks. Previously, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market and other EU trademark registries stated that it is theoretically possible to register single colours.

13 February 2003

OHIM launches e-filing system

In an attempt to make the Community trademark registration system more user-friendly, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) has made it possible to file applications online. The OHIM itself, however, is the main beneficiary of the measure.

12 February 2003

Prior registration of ILS defeats application for ELS

The European Court of First Instance has overturned a decision allowing the registration of the Community trademark ELS. The court held that there was visual and aural similarity, and hence a likelihood of confusion, between the ELS mark and a prior registration of the logo mark ILS in Germany.