In a recent case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (Court of Justice) ruled that a simple drawing of sales premises for goods, without any indication of dimensions or proportions, can be registered as a trademark for services involving provisions related to those goods, but which do not constitute an integral part of admitting them to trade. One of the conditions making it possible to register such a depiction as a trademark is that the depiction makes it possible for the services concerned to be differentiated from those of other businesses. A second condition is that the registration does not meet any of the grounds for refusal of a registration specified in Directive 2008/95/EC. Read More
On September 30, 2014, in Nationstar Mortgage LLC v. Mujahid Ahmad, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board) sustained a claim of fraud on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the first time since the Federal Circuit issued its 2009 decision in In re Bose, upholding an opposition to the mark NATIONSTAR for various real estate brokerage, mortgage and management services.
In response to fraud allegations, Ahmad needed to show that he was using the NATIONSTAR mark with each of the services prior to the filing date of his in-use application. Read More
A seemingly endless variety of facial masks can now be found in Hong Kong, some containing ingredients like bird’s nest or the slime of a snail. Do not be surprised to see beauty products depicting a picture of a cheerful snail followed by a trail of slime on the packaging.
It has become routine for many to put on a facial mask at night in Hong Kong. Sadly, some merchants have decided to take unlawful advantage of the popularity of facial masks, albeit not necessarily containing the above ingredients or depicting a smiling snail. Read More
Rachel ‘Champagne Jayne’ Powell’s passion for Champagne has helped her to become an award-winning wine expert, broadcaster, journalist and presenter. However, Ms. Powell’s ‘Champagne Jayne’ brand has put her at loggerheads with the trade organisation established to manage the common interests of the growers and the Champagne Houses behind the drink she loves so much. Read More
Oyster Bay’s Wine Bottle Trade Mark Application Rejected
In 2012, New Zealand winery Oyster Bay filed a trade mark application as follows:
Ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court of 10 April 2014 (II GSK 255/13)
This case involved a clash between marks serving to identify fats comprising a mixture of butter and vegetable fats. In 1996, the word mark MIKSEŁKO was registered. This is a fantasy composition suggesting that the goods it identifies are a mixture of fats with the addition of butter. In 2008, a competitor of the owner of the first sign successfully registered the mark MILKSEŁKO ŁACIATE. That mark is a word-graphic mark consisting of two elements. The second is very well known as an independent mark used to identify milk and a line of goods produced from cow’s milk. The first element, by using the English word ‘milk’, emphasizes that the products are derived from milk, while the first element as a whole suggests that butter is contained in products bearing the mark. Read More
Acting on a complaint that fake sports shoes were sold in Mong Kok, a popular shopping district for trendy teens and tourists, Hong Kong Customs went into action and raided retail shops and warehouses.
Customs Officers seized suspected fakes, including 1,905 pairs of sports shoes, to a tune of HKD1.67 million. The suspected head of the fake goods syndicate along with six other people were arrested.
The arrests included a 16 year old and Customs has appealed to young people to be on guard against dodgy dealings when working in summer jobs. Read More
During its next term, which begins in October 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court will continue to decide important intellectual property cases.
In B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., the Court will tackle an issue that has long vexed trademark owners and their lawyers: ‘how much deference to give determinations by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) on the issue of likelihood of confusion, when a subsequent infringement action is brought in federal court?’. In other words, must a court accept the TTAB’s decision on likelihood of confusion, even though the TTAB’s jurisdiction is limited to a trademark’s registrability? Read More
Additional Damages for Past Trade Mark Infringements
In June 2014 the Federal Court made its first award of additional damages for trade mark infringement under the ‘Raising the Bar’ amendments to the Trade Marks Act 1995 (TM Act). We reported on the original judgment in our 23 June 2014 alert, which you can find here.
Today, the Federal Court of Australia handed down another judgment in that case. This second judgement suggests that additional damages may also be available for trade mark infringements that occurred before 15 April 2013.
Google AdWords Policy Change for Australia
As reported in April 2013, Google amended its AdWords policy in Australia allowing a company to purchase a competitor’s trade mark as a keyword in order to trigger sponsored ads during Google searches.
Google has now gone one step further and allowed resellers and informational sites from 27 July 2014 to use trade marks in ad text in Australia and New Zealand under certain circumstances. Read More