Misleading renewal notices to trademark owners continue to cause confusion and, in some cases, unnecessary fees paid to fraudulent schemers that do not result in renewal of a trademark registration. Recently, a Latvian citizen was sentenced to more than four years in U.S. prison and fined over US$4.5 million in restitution, after he pleaded guilty to a three-year scheme that defrauded thousands of U.S. trademark owners of over US$1.2 million.Read More
The issue of contributory infringement of a patent under the Australian Patents Act 1990 (Act) does not often arise for consideration by the Australian judicial system. When it does arise, the question of whether or not the product supplied is a ‘staple commercial product’ under the relevant provisions of the Act is always of particular interest.
In only a few cases has the impugned product been held to be a staple commercial product, and so any case that expands upon that product class is a particularly valuable aid. It is therefore of interest that the Full Court of the Australian Federal Court has recently considered contributory infringement in Hood v Down Under Enterprises International Pty Limited  FCAFC 69.Read More
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.
On 9 March 2018, Byron Bay brewery Stone & Wood lost an appeal in the Australian Full Federal Court of Appeal to Brunswick based brewer Thunder Road with respect to their respective uses of the word PACIFIC for their rival beers.
Stone & Wood sells craft beer, including its best-selling beer “Pacific Ale”. Thunder Road launched its “Thunder Road Pacific Ale” in 2015, which it renamed “Thunder Road Pacific” later that year following letters of demand from Stone & Wood.
In May 2013, Catchoftheday.com.au Pty Ltd applied to register the following marks:
Target Australia Pty Ltd (Target), a well known Australian retailer, opposed registration of the marks. It argued that under section 42(b) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), use of the Trade Marks would be contrary to law.
Unilever Australia Ltd v Revlon Australia Pty Ltd (no.2)  FCA 875
This case is the latest skirmish between two personal product giants, Unilever and Revlon, before war breaks out on 15 September 2014 when the trial begins.
The case concerns ‘clinical’ anti-perspirant deodorant products; Revlon’s product sold under the brand name Mitchum Clinical and Unilever’s products sold under the brand names ‘Rexona’ and ‘Dove’.
The first interlocutory injunction hearing was brought by Unilever against Revlon in May 2014 concerned misleading representations alleged to have been made by Revlon in advertising. On balance, the Court refused to grant the injunction as it would have a serious adverse impact on the worldwide marketing campaign for Revlon and the trial could be held in July 2014. The July trial was eventually adjourned to 15 September 2014. Read More
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