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12 March 2019

Alibaba reaches settlement, new Hong Kong IP director, and Swiss IP office issues fakes warning: news digest

In our latest round-up, we look at the New Zealand IP office issuing a stark warning against misleading mislead invoices, $1.1 million worth of counterfeits stopped on Canada-US border, and much more.

13 March 2017

Federal Supreme Court: forum delicti requires specific proof of actual or imminent harmful act in relevant territory

The Federal Supreme Court has ruled that, for a court to have jurisdiction based on forum delicti, a harmful act must have actually taken place, or be imminent, in the territory of that court. As the claimant was unable to provide sufficient proof of an infringement within the relevant territory, its claim of trademark infringement and unfair competition was dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

30 January 2015

'Renewal snatching' found to constitute unfair competition

A WIPO expert's decision under the SWITCH dispute resolution policy (for ‘.ch’ and ‘.li’ domain names) is the first case under Swiss law that deals with ‘renewal snatching’ - that is, the practice of registering lapsed domain names. Although the expert found that there was no clear infringement of the claimant's trademark rights, he held that the snatching of the domain name constituted unfair competition and ordered its transfer.

01 September 2014

Mark owner forfeits rights in domain name by waiting eight years to file complaint

A WIPO panellist has refused to order the transfer of the domain name 'ergoline-service.ch' to JK-Holding, the owner of the ERGOLINE mark. Among other things, the panellist held that JK-Holding had forfeited its rights, if any, by waiting for eight years to file the complaint after becoming aware of the allegedly infringing use.

24 April 2013

WIPO expert refuses to recognise well-known status of ELLE mark

A WIPO expert has held that the domain name 'elle-agency.ch' did not infringe Hachette Filipacchi Presse’s trademark ELLE. Although it was established that Elle is a widely-known fashion magazine which sells over six million copies per issue in over 90 countries, the expert refused to recognise its status as a famous trademark in Switzerland.

21 February 2012

Only identical or quasi-identical marks can be subject of action for transfer

In a case involving the trademarks GO FAST and GO FAST SPORTS, the Swiss Supreme Court has clarified that only identical or quasi-identical trademarks could be the subject of an action for transfer. It also held that a court can oblige a respondent to make a declaration of intent to transfer a domain name to the holder of the corresponding trademark under the Unfair Competition Act.

11 March 2008

Fiat loses dispute over 'fiat500.ch' domain name

In Fiat Group Automobiles Switzerland SA v Mattioli, a WIPO expert has refused to transfer the domain name 'fiat500.ch' to Fiat Group Automobiles Switzerland SA and Fiat SpA. Among other things, the expert held that since Fiat had filed the complaint over 10 years after the domain name was registered, its rights in the domain name had been forfeited.

16 May 2007

Swiss Supreme Court examines domain name jurisdiction issues

The Swiss Supreme Court has confirmed a first instance decision of the commercial court of the Canton of Zurich and has held that the Swiss courts have jurisdiction to rule on a trademark infringement case against an individual domiciled in the United Kingdom using Swiss insurance company SwissLife's trademarks SWISS LIFE and LA SUISSE in his domain names.

08 December 2006

Interests of ARIEL mark owner outweigh those of same name individual

A World Intellectual Property Organization expert has ordered the transfer of the domain name 'ariel.ch' to Procter & Gamble Company and Gamble Service GmbH. The expert held that the interests of the owners of the mark ARIEL were greater than those of the registrant, an individual named Ariel Hauser. This decision is in line with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court's decision in 'maggi.ch'

13 September 2006

Swiss government settles disputes over domain names

The Swiss Confederation has settled a dispute with the registrant of the domain names 'schweiz.ch', 'suisse.ch' and 'svizzera.ch' (which mean 'Switzerland' in German, French and Italian respectively). A World Intellectual Property Organization panellist had ordered the transfer of the domain names in May but the registrant had subsequently filed proceedings in court.

13 June 2005

Exploitation of another's work not unfair where contribution made

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has dismissed a claim brought by four companies against an entity that was using automatic systems to locate and copy data from their websites to use on its own site. The court held that this was not an act of unfair competition as the defendant had contributed its own work to the data taken from the claimants' sites.

06 April 2005

Rights in MAGGI mark outweigh individual's rights in his name

In Maggi v Société des Produits Nestlé SA, the Swiss Supreme Court has resolved a dispute over the domain name 'maggi.com' by ruling that the respondent's rights in its famous MAGGI trademark outweigh those of an individual called Romeo Maggi in his surname. The court's judgment contrasts with a WIPO ruling in 2001 in which the trademark owner's complaint was denied.

12 September 2003

Online trademarks granted same level of protection as famous marks

In Deutsche Telekom AG v Télésonique SA, the Supreme Court has ordered the transfer of 'tonline.ch' to the owner of the T-ONLINE mark. The court's reasoning suggests that all registered trademarks used online should receive the same degree of protection that famous trademarks receive offline, that is, protection against use for any (not just similar or identical) goods and services.

14 February 2003

'luzern.ch' and 'montana.ch' transferred in landmark decisions

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has issued two landmark decisions concerning the '.ch' domain space. The court ruled that (i) the test for assessing the likelihood of confusion is based solely on the domain name and not the content of the website; and (ii) the courts have the power to order the transfer of domain names ending in '.ch'.