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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.

11 February 2003

European Commission plans to scrap national searches

The European Commission has proposed to abolish the national search system currently used when applying for a Community trademark. The commission identified several shortcomings of the system, including the likely increase in volume and cost of Community trademark applications.

10 February 2003

Petit Liberto blocks registration of FIFTIES Community trademark

In Oberhauser v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, the European Court of First Instance has upheld the decision to refuse the registration of the Community trademark FIFTIES. The court concluded that there was a likelihood of confusion between FIFTIES and the pre-existing Spanish registered trademark MISS FIFTIES.

07 February 2003

Nationally registered descriptive term blocks Community trademark

The European Court of First Instance has upheld a decision to refuse the registration of the Community trademark MATRATZEN MARKT CONCORD because of a prior registration of the mark MATRATZEN in Spain. The court held that the Spanish mark is valid even though 'matratzen' (mattresses) is a descriptive German word.