In what will be welcomed by innovative design brands, on 14 July 2021, the General Court of the EU handed down a decision annulling the EUIPO and Board of Appeal’s decisions that a mark filed by Guerlain lacked distinctive character. This decision emphasises that a distinctiveness assessment of a three-dimensional mark must be undertaken by reference to the specifics of common practice in the market for the relevant products.Read More
CJEU determines no likelihood of confusion between footballer’s “Messi” figurative mark and earlier MASSI mark.
Whilst debate will continue to rage as to whether Messi or Ronaldo is the world’s best male football player, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) has ruled that Argentine superstar can register his name as a trade mark after an almost decade long legal battle.
In an interesting decision for trade mark fanatics, irrespective of their interest in football, the CJEU stated that Lionel Messi’s reputation could be taken into account, without any evidence of said reputation being provided, when weighing up whether the public would be able to determine the uniqueness of Messi’s mark.Read More
The EUIPO recently upheld an opposition by DC Comics to protect its reputable SUPERMAN mark from a similar sign, despite the applicant’s sign covering a different class of goods. The decision confirms that, for there to be a sufficient risk of injury under Article 8(5) EUTRM, the public must perceive a ‘link’ between the sign and the earlier mark. The mere fact the two marks cover different classes of goods and services is not inherently a barrier to such a link. Here the link arose largely from the earlier mark’s reputation, and commercial connections between the two classes in question.
Some will see the EUIPO as swooping to the rescue to protect the hard-earned reputations of brands; others will see this as an unreasonable expansion of rights beyond a mark’s designated classes, and a Kryptonite to legitimate activity.Read More
In a Notice issued March 31, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) extended certain filing and payment deadlines due between March 27, 2020, and April 30, 2020, by 30 days from the initial due date, provided that the filing is accompanied by a statement that the delay was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The USPTO’s authority to offer this extension was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 26, 2020.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 expansion of the UK Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (the “IPEC”) has continued with claims now able to be issued in seven new locations outside of London.Read More
The long running and highly publicised Rubik’s cube case has taken another twist. On 24 October 2019, the EU General Court confirmed the cancellation of the EU trade mark for the 3D shape. The mark was cancelled because its essential characteristics were deemed necessary for its technical function (i.e. the shape’s ability to rotate).Read More
On 16 October 2019, Advocate General Tanchev of the CJEU has issued his opinion in Sky v SkyKick one of the most intriguing trade mark cases at the moment which will likely have a significant impact on EU trade mark law. Crucially the AG has advised that:
- “registration of a trade mark for ‘computer software’ is unjustified and contrary to the public interest” because it confers on the proprietor a “monopoly of immense breadth which cannot be justified”, and it lacks sufficient clarity and precision; and
- trade mark registrations made with no intention to use, in relation to the specified goods and services, may constitute bad faith.
William Grant & Sons, the distiller, blender and owner of Glenfiddich, the independent whisky company which markets itself as the “World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky”, was unsuccessful in its recent opposition of Glenfield’s label trade mark application.
Back in 2018, Mumbai-based business man Vivek Anasane filed a trade mark application for the label of his ‘Glenfield’ Scotch whisky in an attempt to expand his drinks company into the UK. This was quickly opposed by William Grant & Sons who argued that the Glenfield mark was “visually and phonetically highly similar” to the Glenfiddich word mark.