Tag: Europe

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Not such a friendly decision for Hugz: A new development in passing off that could help combat fashion copy-cats
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Brexit and .EU Domain Names – A warning for UK registrants
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UK Advertising Regulator makes first ever ruling on disclosures required for commercial marketing via a TikTok video
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What an awful racket… Acoustic product trade mark case provides opportunity for brands being piggy-backed to drive search traffic
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Putting Position Marks Front and Centre: CJEU Considers Assessment of Position Marks for Services
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Louis Vuitton playing chess or checkers? The CJEU annuls’ the invalidation of Louis Vuitton’s EU trade mark
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Copyright protection for Brompton’s folding bicycle? CJEU gives green light to the possibility across Europe
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COVID-19: UKIPO declares “interrupted days” to extend deadlines
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COVID-19: EUIPO extends all office deadlines; CJEU restricts operations but time limits unchanged
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We have a decision in the Sky v SkyKick case… and the long-awaited CJEU’s decision is good news for brand owners!

Not such a friendly decision for Hugz: A new development in passing off that could help combat fashion copy-cats

On 19 November 2020, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) in the UK handed down its judgment in the case of Freddy SPA v Hugz Clothing Ltd & Ors [2020] EWHC 3032, which ran for an unusually long time for the IPEC (three days).

The decision was a rare occurrence of a passing off claim, together with other IP causes of action, succeeding in the get-up of a functional item, being “bum enhancing jeans”. Ordinarily, such cases, particularly with respect to fashion items, fail as the get-up is seen as merely design elements or ornamental, or the circumstances of the use lead to a conclusion that other trade marks (e.g. brand names and logos) dominate consumer perception.

This case could embolden brand owners in relation to enforcement of the look and feel of their clothing as it creates the possibility of confusion ‘post-sale’ in addition to the point of sale.

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Brexit and .EU Domain Names – A warning for UK registrants

Despite the UK having officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020, the Brexit transition period has been in place maintaining the status quo until 31 December 2020. However, with the end of transition period just around the corner, there are a number of important factors for businesses to be considering including the potential impact on .EU domain names.

Importantly, from 1 January 2021, UK Registrants will no longer be eligible to hold a .EU domain name. Each of the following would be classed as UK Registrants:

  • UK undertakings or organisations established in the UK but not otherwise in the EU;
  • UK citizens who are not resident of an EU member state; and
  • UK residents who are not EU citizens.
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UK Advertising Regulator makes first ever ruling on disclosures required for commercial marketing via a TikTok video

A TikTok post on an Emily Canham’s account, a beauty blogger and YouTube star, is the first TikTok video found to be in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) requirement for disclosure in the UK (see here).

The post, which featured a video of Emily Canham using a branded hairdryer and straighteners, included a caption alongside the video stated:

hiii just a lil psa there’s 20% off the [Brand] website TODAY ONLY with the code EMILY … #fyp #foryourpage“.

The brand in question had entered into an agreement with Ms Canham, which required Ms Canham to post a number of social media posts while at a music festival. The music festival was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. However, the contract was varied and still required several social media posts featuring a certain promotional code.

It was submitted to the ASA that the TikTok was created without the oversight or approval of the brand, and did not form part of Ms Canham’s contract. Additionally, both Ms Canham and the brand pointed to the fact that she had not been compensated for the promotional code featured in the TikTok video.

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What an awful racket… Acoustic product trade mark case provides opportunity for brands being piggy-backed to drive search traffic

An interesting recent decision by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) on an unusual set of facts may provide an opportunity for brand owners to prevent unauthorised third parties from piggy-backing off a trade mark to drive traffic to their competing sites or product offerings. Uniquely, this has been found in circumstances which do not amount to traditional “bait and switch” or passing off and where consumers are not confused about the origin of the goods.

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Putting Position Marks Front and Centre: CJEU Considers Assessment of Position Marks for Services

In a recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling, based on a referral from the Stockholm Court of Appeal, the CJEU considered whether the distinctiveness of a sign that is to be applied to specific services should be assessed with regard to what is customary in the relevant sector. A full copy of the decision can be found here.

The Court clarified that, in the context of trade marks for services, the assessment of a sign’s distinctiveness should not always involve an assessment of norms and/or customs of the sector.

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Louis Vuitton playing chess or checkers? The CJEU annuls’ the invalidation of Louis Vuitton’s EU trade mark

Louis Vuitton received a favorable decision from the EU General Court (“General Court”) in June 2020 which may assist brand owners seeking IP protection of their decorative patterns. The decision confirms the distinctive character an EU trade mark must possess in order to benefit from protection throughout the EU as well as highlighting how patterns may be protected through registration as a trade mark rather than under other forms of IP protection such as copyright or design protection. However, the decision also reaffirmed the EU’s strict approach to assessing the unitary character of EU trade marks, which potentially sets a high bar for applicants to clear.

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Copyright protection for Brompton’s folding bicycle? CJEU gives green light to the possibility across Europe

On 11 June 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its decision in the referral from the Belgium Companies Court (Tribunal de l’entreprise de Liège) arising from copyright infringement proceedings by Brompton Bicycle Ltd (Brompton) against a Korean company Get2Get Chedech (Get2Get) relating to its folding bike.

The decision is good news for designers and creative businesses as it lays a foundation for new opportunities for copyright protection and enforcement in Europe. This evolving area of law now requires a low threshold for protection, with a suggestion from the CJEU that minor creative choices in products will be sufficient for a finding of copyright protection.

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COVID-19: UKIPO declares “interrupted days” to extend deadlines

Following similar measures from the EUIPO and other national registries (see here), the UK Intellectual Property Office (the UKIPO), has declared 24 March 2020, and subsequent days until further notice, “interrupted days”. This means that any deadlines for patents, supplementary protection certificates, trade marks, designs, and applications for these rights, which fall on an interrupted day will be extended until the UKIPO notifies the end of the interrupted days period.

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COVID-19: EUIPO extends all office deadlines; CJEU restricts operations but time limits unchanged

With the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic being seen in all facets of our lives, European IP registries are also seeking to manage these exceptional circumstances.

On Monday 16 March 2020, the Executive Director of the EUIPO issued a decision extending all time limits for EU trade marks and designs expiring between 9 March 2020 and 30 April 2020, that affect all parties before the Office, to 1 May 2020. Similarly, the EPO has announced that all deadlines for patent matters are extended until 17 April 2020.

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We have a decision in the Sky v SkyKick case… and the long-awaited CJEU’s decision is good news for brand owners!

On 29 January 2020 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed its decision in the referral from the English High Court in the Sky v SkyKick case. We have previously covered this case and its importance for EU and UK trade mark law (including with our summary of the opinion issued by Advocate General Tanchev, which can be seen here).

The CJEU’s ruling provides good news for trade mark owners as it largely maintains the status quo for EU and UK trade mark law, departing from the AG’s Opinion in a number of important ways.

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