Tag: Colour Trade Marks

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Frucor given red card over ‘V’ green trade mark
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EU Board of Appeal decision: trademark application consisting of a combination of colours
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Green with Envy: Colour Trade Marks in Australia
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As Blue as a NIVEA Cream Tin – Requirements for Acquiring Distinctiveness
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Louboutin Succeeds Again in Long Standing European Union Trade Mark Opposition Over Red Sole
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It’s Not Easy Being Green
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Local Directories Wins in Telstra Dispute Over Yellow

Frucor given red card over ‘V’ green trade mark

On 2 July 2018 the Federal Court of Australia dismissed Frucor Beverages Ltd’s appeal regarding the registrability of the colour Pantone 376C with respect to the energy drink ‘V’.

The Frucor mark in question, Australian trade mark no. 1496541, was first filed with IP Australia on 5 June 2012. Registration of this mark was opposed by the Coca Cola Company on two grounds. First, Coca Cola alleged that while the trade mark was filed for Pantone 376C, the swatch attached to the application that visually demonstrated the colour was not actually Pantone 376C. Furthermore, it argued that regardless of the colour actually filed, it was not capable of distinguishing Frucor’s goods from other similar goods and services. The Registrar of Trade Marks dismissed the first ground of opposition but supported the second and the registration was denied.

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EU Board of Appeal decision: trademark application consisting of a combination of colours

On 19 October 2016, the Board of Appeal upheld a decision by the Cancellation Division entirely invalidating a graphic trademark registered on 7 December 2007 by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The basis for the invalidation was Article 51 par. 1a), pursuant to which a trademark must be deemed as having expired if it is not used for a period of five years.

The trademark in question consisted of four stripes of different colours: green, red, yellow and blue, and was registered as a graphic trademark, not as a combination of colours per se. The Hudson’s Bay Company used that colour combination on its products, but not in the form of stripes on a white rectangle, but as stripes running across the entire width of a product. The Cancellation Division found that, placed on a given product in that manner, the colours did not function as a trademark, that is, they did not serve to identify the origin of the product, but only constituted a decorative design. In addition, the products themselves appeared in different colour versions and not in the version reserved for the mark.

The Cancellation Division found that the relevant target group of consumers perceived the striped pattern as a design, and not as a trademark, and that the Hudson’s Bay Company had not provided evidence attesting that this was not the case. The Hudson’s Bay Company lodged an appeal against the decision to invalidate, arguing, among other things, that the colour combination used always consists of four colours of evenly placed stripes in the colours green, red, yellow and blue. The company added that, of course, the colour scheme does constitute a decoration, but is used for the purpose of identifying the company.

The Board of Appeal dismissed the appeal. It found that the trademark had been registered as a graphic mark, not as a colour combination. Therefore, the use of the trademark cannot differ from what was registered, and so the same combination of colours must appear in the same order and in the same proportions. The Board of Appeal found that, used in the manner it is, the mark should not have been registered as a graphic trademark, but as a colour combination per se. Certainly, the Hudson’s Bay Company would then enjoy such protection, and there would be no doubt concerning actual use. Nevertheless, because the colour combination was registered as a graphic trademark, the Board of Appeal upheld the stance of the Cancellation Division that the trademark registered had not actually been used for five years and dismissed the appeal.

SOURCE: www.euipo.europa.eu

By: Daria Golus

From the K&L Gates publication Trademarks and Unfair Competition, Quarterly Bulletin, 1/2017 – click here.

Green with Envy: Colour Trade Marks in Australia

Frucor Beverages Limited (Frucor), the manufacturer of energy drink, V, has unsuccessfully tried to register a trade mark for the colour green. Last month, Coca-Cola Company (Coca-Cola), the manufacturer of Mother energy drinks, successfully opposed registration of the trade mark filed in 2012 in relation to energy drinks which consisted of the colour green (Pantone 376c), as shown below.

image 1

Coca-Cola opposed the trade mark application on the basis that Pantone 376c Green was not capable of distinguishing Frucor’s energy drinks and that the application was defective. While the opposition failed on the latter ground, Coca-Cola was successful in its argument that Pantone 376c Green was not capable of distinguishing V energy drinks from the energy drinks of other traders.

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As Blue as a NIVEA Cream Tin – Requirements for Acquiring Distinctiveness

The German Federal Supreme Court Rules on the Blue Color Trade Mark of German Cosmetics Giant Beiersdorf

On 9 July 2015, the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) ruled on the validity of the blue color mark of the German beauty care company Beiersdorf. The BGH specified the requirements for acquiring distinctiveness with regard to abstract color marks by stating that a color can be registered as a trademark if half of consumers linked the concerned product to that color. Thus, the BGH clarified that abstract color marks acquire distinctiveness under the same conditions as other trade marks.

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Louboutin Succeeds Again in Long Standing European Union Trade Mark Opposition Over Red Sole

Christian Louboutin (Louboutin) has again been successful in a long running opposition proceeding filed by Roland SE (Roland) against its red sole trade mark in the European Union.

Louboutin has faced legal challenges around the world in registering and enforcing its signature red sole on its shoes.  In 2010, Louboutin filed a Community Trade Mark application for the below trade mark in class 25 for “high-heeled shoes (except orthopaedic footwear)” (Louboutin Mark):
shoe

 

(Louboutin Mark)

 

 

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

BP’s Application for Registration of the Colour Green as a Trade Mark Rejected by IP Australia

IP Australia has again made it clear that the assessment of a colour trade mark under section 41 of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) should be no different from the assessment of any other trade mark. 

However in rejecting BP’s application for registration of the colour green, the Office noted that while most objects have to be some colour, the act of applying a colour to a product will not act as an identifier for that product. Read More

Local Directories Wins in Telstra Dispute Over Yellow

It is very difficult for companies to effectively own colour, as was enforced in Local Directories’ Federal Court victory in its long running dispute against Telstra. Telstra claimed that by its use of the colour yellow for phone directories, Local Directories had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and passing off. The Court dismissed these claims and upheld that Telstra’s advertisements published in certain Yellow Pages directories were in fact misleading. Read More

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