April 26, 2018 is a remarkable date: first it’s World IP Day celebrating IP around the world. Second, and this is unique, the British IP Minister Sam Gyimah MP announced that the UK ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPC Agreement). By doing so the UK agreed to be bound to both the UPC agreement and the UPC’s Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (PPI). The UPC will be a court common to the contracting member states within the EU having exclusive competence in respect of European Patents and European Patents with unitary effect.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently confirmed that the “no-aesthetic-consideration” test is the preferable approach when deciding whether a design is “solely dictated by its technical function”. As a result, if aesthetic considerations are completely irrelevant the design should not be registered. However, this does not mean that the legislation requires a design to have an aesthetical merit in order to be registered as a Community Design.
Last month, the CJEU published their long-waited decision on the request for a preliminary ruling raised by the Oberlandegericht Düsseldorf (the “German Court”) back in 2016.
The CJEU has provided some clarity on the interpretation of Article 8(1) of the Community Design Regulation (CDR) and how to determine if a product’s features are “solely dictated by its technical function”. The CJEU took the chance to stress, once again, that the determination “must be interpreted in a uniform manner in all Member States”, which strongly reiterates the EU’s objective for cohesive legal application.
The Düsseldorf first instance district court decided that the trademark of Ferrari has to be cancelled (Decision as of 2 August 2017 – Case no. 2a O 166/16 – juris). However, the decision in not yet final.
On 26 July 2017, the advocate general of the EU Court of Justice issued a very interesting opinion of benefit to the owners of exclusive brands. The dispute the opinion addresses has been going on for many years between the companies Coty German GmbH (“Coty”) – a leading supplier of luxury cosmetic products in Germany – and Parfümerie Akzente GmbH (“Parfümerie Akzente”) – an authorized distributor of those products. It concerns the possibility of a supplier prohibiting authorized entities involved in further selling in a selective distribution system from using unauthorized third companies.
The EU Court of Justice will have to consider whether, and within what scope, selective distribution systems for luxury and prestige items that primarily ensure the “luxury image” of those goods constitute an element of competition pursuant to Article 101 par. 1 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
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.
The Secondary Distinctiveness of a Trademark: Ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union
If a ‘significant part’ (at least 70%) of the consumer group is able to recognize given goods as deriving from a specific company using the trademark, then the mark has certainly acquired distinctiveness, including in the case of ‘secondary distinctiveness as a result of use’.
The European Court of Justice held on 19 June 2014 in a ruling (C-217/13 and C-218/13) in the case of Oberbank AG, Banco Santander SA and Santander Consumer Bank AG vs. Deutsche Sparkassen und Giroverband e.V. (DSGV), the result of three pre-trial questions submitted to the Court of Justice by the German Federal Patent Office (Bundespatentgericht). The findings were as follows: Read More