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03 July 2003

ECJ asked to clear up 'distinctiveness' in Dyson registration

In Dyson Limited v Registrar of Trademarks, the High Court has referred a question to the ECJ seeking guidance as to whether the monopoly use of a sign that identifies a particular trader's goods can create the necessary degree of distinctiveness required for registration as a trademark, even where the sign has not previously been promoted as a mark.

01 July 2003

Registry changes examination practice for trademark series

The UK Trademark Registry has published a notice setting out its new practice of examining applications to register a series of trademarks in a single procedure. Marks that include numerals, common misspellings or domain name suffixes, among other things, may be considered a series as long as the differences do not affect the marks' overall identity.

11 June 2003

New rules govern appeals in intellectual property proceedings

The Civil Procedure (Amendment 2) Rules have come into force. The rules introduce into the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 a new Part 63 - entitled "Patents and other Intellectual Property Claims" - which sets out new time limits for appeal periods and for extensions of time for appeal applications.

14 May 2003

Wrestling federation licensee allowed to sell WWF branded videogames

In World Wide Fund for Nature v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc, the Court of Appeal has ruled that certain classic videogames of World Wrestling Federation performers can be sold by licensee THQ/Jakks Pacific LLC - a blow to efforts by the World Wide Fund for Nature, which had stopped the sale of the games through lower court legal action.

15 April 2003

Gerber court rules on meaning of 'bona fide use'

The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision ruling that the registration of the mark GERBER may not be cancelled, even though the mark had only been used during a limited marketing exercise over a period of five years. 'Bona fide use', ruled the court, means honest use under the Trademarks Act 1938, not use on a substantial scale.

19 March 2003

BABY-DRY approved in bitter beer battle

In West v Fuller Smith & Turner plc, the Court of Appeal has approved the limitation of Fuller's registration of the trademark ESB for beers so that it covers only bitter beers. The decision also marks an important UK confirmation of the European Court of Justice's findings in the BABY-DRY Case.

13 March 2003

Nestlé can't have a break

In Société des Produits Nestlé SA v Mars UK Ltd, the High Court has upheld the Trademark Registry's opposition to the registration by Nestlé of the trademark HAVE A BREAK. The court found that the mark has not acquired a distinctive character through use.

28 February 2003

Anheuser-Busch fails to revoke Budvar trademarks

In Budejovicky Budvar Narodni Podnik v Anheuser-Busch Inc, the Court of Appeal has upheld two UK trademark registrations for stylized versions of the words 'Budweiser Budbräu' and 'Bud' belonging to Czech brewers Budejovicky Budvar. US brewers Anheuser-Busch had applied to revoke the trademarks for non-use.

21 February 2003

Thomson cruises to victory in FREESTYLE dispute

In Thomson Holidays v Norwegian Cruise Line, the Court of Appeal has issued guidance on how to revise a trademark registration. The court held that specifications in a trademark registration may be amended so that the registration covers customers' perceived uses of the mark.

17 February 2003

Intel blocks registration of INTEL-PLAY

In Intel Corporation v Kirpal Singh Sihra, the High Court has allowed an appeal by Intel and prevented the registration of the trademark INTEL-PLAY. The court held that allowing the registration would dilute the strength of the plaintiff's famous INTEL mark.

13 February 2003

Court turns to ECJ for guidance in VIENNETTA shape mark battle

In Société de Produits Nestlé SA v Unilever plc, the High Court is seeking guidance from the European Court of Justice on the correct interpretation of provisions in the Community Trademark Directive governing the registerability of three-dimensional shapes as trademarks.