Tag: Distinctiveness

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Bega claims the peanut butter throne in $60M war with Kraft Heinz
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Zara v Zara: The evolving world of “fashion”
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Descriptive Character and Geographical Origin: Bad News for the Souvenir Industry
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Frucor given red card over ‘V’ green trade mark
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Chocolate Slab-Gate
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U.S. Court finds Adidas’ Stan Smith shoe trade dress protectable
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Say My Name: Beyoncé files trademarks for her newborn twins’ names
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The protective capacity of 3D trademarks
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Distinctiveness of a mark (packaging of Knoppers waffles) – ruling of the EU Court of Justice
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Italian Supreme Court on Secondary Meaning: When a Registered Generic Sign can Become a Trademark

Bega claims the peanut butter throne in $60M war with Kraft Heinz

What you need to know

  • Under Australian law, an entity can’t transfer an unregistered trade mark to another entity without also transferring its entire business.
  • To transfer a trade mark without transferring a business, the transferor first needs to register its trade mark.
  • Failing to register a valuable trade mark used in a business can have major unforeseen consequences in the context of M&A transactions, especially where the business is operated by a subsidiary in a corporate group.
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Zara v Zara: The evolving world of “fashion”

The recent decision in Inditex v EUIPO demonstrates the far reaching, evolving nature of fashion brands and the markets they can operate in and are expanding into.

In this case, Inditex (one of the world’s largest fashion retailers and owner of the fashion brand Zara) appealed the EUIPO’s decision to grant registration of the ‘Zara Tanzania Adventures’ mark in classes 39 (travel and tourism) and 43 (travel agency services). The appeal was based on the registration of its own ‘Zara’ mark in class 39. But how can a fashion brand object to a mark in the travel sector?

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Descriptive Character and Geographical Origin: Bad News for the Souvenir Industry

If you are one of those intellectual property lawyers that likes to tell brand stories while travelling, this post is for you.

Last September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed the appeal of the German Souvenir Federation (Bundesverband Souvenir), which had filed an invalidity action based on the descriptive character of the term “Neuschwanstein” (the name of a beautiful castle located in southwest Bavaria, Germany). The appellant argued that the mark may be used in trade to designate the geographical origin of the goods and services concerned (handbags, clothing, soft drinks, jewelry, etc.).

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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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Chocolate Slab-Gate

Waitrose has agreed to stop producing “copycat” chocolate slabs following an ongoing dispute with Hotel Chocolat.

Hotel Chocolat accused Waitrose of infringing its intellectual property rights in its distinctive curved shaped chocolate slab.  This was further reinforced when individuals were taking to Twitter to question whether Hotel Chocolat were actually producing the chocolate slabs for Waitrose.  Hotel Chocolat requested that Waitrose removed the offending chocolate slabs from sale.

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U.S. Court finds Adidas’ Stan Smith shoe trade dress protectable

It’s game, set, match for Adidas when it comes to the protectable trade dress in its iconic Stan Smith tennis shoe. In a dispute between Adidas and Skechers over the “Skecherizing” of the Stan Smith shoe, the District Court for the District of Oregon denied Skechers’ motion for summary judgment finding that Adidas could show it has protectable trade dress in its well-known shoe design because the design was recognizable to consumers and not functional. Adidas America Inc. et al. v. Skechers USA Inc., D. Or (August 3, 2017) (order granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment).

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Say My Name: Beyoncé files trademarks for her newborn twins’ names

Long gone are the days where the first registration of your child’s name was on their birth certificate.  On 26 June 2017, U.S. Trade Mark Application Numbers 87506186 and 87506188 were filed for the names of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter’s newborn twins ‘Rumi Carter’ and ‘Sir Carter’ by Beyoncé’s holding company, BGK Trademark Holdings.

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Distinctiveness of a mark (packaging of Knoppers waffles) – ruling of the EU Court of Justice

We reported previously, in Bulletin No. 2 /2016 (page 15), on a case of the registration of the graphic trademark (shown below, packaging for Knoppers waffles, without any additional markings, with protection only for the two-colored background) for goods from class 30 of the Nice Classification, namely confectionery products, chocolates, chocolate products, cakes, ice creams, and ingredients for manufacturing such products.

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Italian Supreme Court on Secondary Meaning: When a Registered Generic Sign can Become a Trademark

On 19 April 2016, the Italian Supreme Court passed on secondary meaning, overruling two sets of proceedings of the courts of merits which declared the invalidity of a trademark.

The case arose some debate among professionals since the trademark declared invalid was registered by a very well-known bathroom tissue producer which invested substantial efforts for decades to ensure that its registered generic sign (“Rotoloni” which literally means big toilet roll) had acquired distinctiveness by way of secondary meaning.

As a result of its efforts, the defendant offered a public opinion survey evidencing that 51% of interviewed consumers were recognizing the generic sign at issue as distinctive of products coming from a specific company. Read More

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