The owner of the trademark “LETTUCE TURNIP THE BEET” cannot prevent third parties from printing the mere phrase on t-shirts, tote bags, or other products. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed on January 20, 2021 that consumers are likely to purchase such products because they find the phrase aesthetically pleasing and not because they associate the phrase with any particular source. LTTB LLC v. Redbubble, Inc., 19-16464 (9th Cir. 2021).Read More
Use of Ferrari’s trade mark in a fashion show or on social media requires consent. This is the lesson we assume Philipp Plein has recently learnt following a couple of legal defeats before the Italian Courts that ruled in favour of Ferrari.
In a ruling issued by the Court of Genova last June, the Court ruled in favour of Ferrari for the illegitimate use of Ferrari’s trade marks on Plein’s Instagram account. The designer on that occasion posted several pictures as well as Instagram stories showing some of his clothing line with Ferrari’s trade marks in the background. Ferrari successfully argued that in those shots Philipp Plein was unlawfully appropriating the positive image and reputation of the well-known car company by using its trade marks for promotional purposes.
In another recent case, the Court of Milan ordered Plein to remove from its website, social media, and other online platforms all the videos and images showing Ferrari cars and trade marks. The Court also ordered the payment, in favour of Ferrari, of €300,000 in damages plus legal fees as well as the publication of the decision in two national newspapers. Furthermore, in the event in which that Philipp Plein would not promptly remove the contested images and videos representing Ferrari cars and trade marks, it will have to pay a penalty of €10,000 for each day of delay in the removal of the infringing images and videos. To view the decision, click here.Read More
In-N-Out Burgers, Inc v Hashtag Burgers Pty Ltd  FCA 193
Sydney burger chain Down N’ Out is looking to appeal Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann’s ruling in a case brought by American fast food giant In-N-Out Burgers, Inc. (In-N-Out). In her decision handed down earlier this year, Justice Katzmann found that Down N’ Out infringed In-N-Out’s registered trade marks and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and passing off. At a hearing last week, her Honour made declarations regarding Down N’ Out’s infringing conduct and granted Down N’ Out leave to appeal the orders. The determination of compensation will take place after any appeal.Read More
Many of us had a Tic Tac box in our pockets as kids, no matter the country we grew up in. Ferrero Spa (“Ferrero”), the Italian manufacturer of Tic Tac (and lots of other delicious confectionary products) registered the Tic Tac box as a trade mark in several jurisdictions, including Italy.
After succeeding before the CJEU in the invalidation action against BMB sp. z o.o. earlier this year (click here), in a recent case brought before the Italian courts, Ferrero successfully defended its shape marks, despite the invalidity claim brought by S.r.o. Mocca spol. (“Mocca”), a Czech company selling Bliki-branded mints in an identical container.Read More
The Federal Court of Australia has found that the use of “SENSES DIRECT” was deceptively similar to an applicant’s earlier registered “SENSIS” trade marks. Sensis Pty Ltd v Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment Pty Ltd  FCA 719 concerned the Australian marketing and advertising business, Sensis (Applicant), who brought a claim for trade mark infringement against Senses Direct Mail and Fulfillment (Respondent), a direct mail services business. The Respondent cross-claimed on the grounds of non-use, arguing for the removal of SENSIS from the Trade Mark Register in relation to certain class 35 services.Read More
In a recent appeal decision in China, the international sportswear brand New Balance has unsuccessfully challenged a finding of trade mark infringement with respect to a Chinese language equivalent for NEW BALANCE. However, New Balance was able to reduce the amount payable as a result of its infringement by 95%.
Additional Damages for Past Trade Mark Infringements
In June 2014 the Federal Court made its first award of additional damages for trade mark infringement under the ‘Raising the Bar’ amendments to the Trade Marks Act 1995 (TM Act). We reported on the original judgment in our 23 June 2014 alert, which you can find here.
Today, the Federal Court of Australia handed down another judgment in that case. This second judgement suggests that additional damages may also be available for trade mark infringements that occurred before 15 April 2013.
Additional Damages Awarded for Trade Mark Infringement
Trade mark owners can take encouragement from the Federal Court of Australia’s readiness to award additional damages as a deterrent from further infringement. The Court made its first award of additional damages for trade mark infringement in a case about kebabs, where a claim for actual loss from an infringement could not be made. Additional damages are a useful weapon in a brand owner’s arsenal. Read More