In a recent decision, the High Court of England and Wales has found that Tesco’s use of the yellow and blue Tesco Clubcard logos (reproduced below) infringed Lidl’s trade marks (see the relevant Lidl marks below) and also gave rise to copyright infringement and passing off.
A recent preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in the joint cases (C-148/21 and C-184/21) between a luxury fashion brand known for its signature red-soled heels Christian Louboutin and an e-commerce giant Amazon might mark a start of an era of increased accountability of marketplaces in relation to listings of third parties they accommodate on their platforms.
Hamburg, Germany – Not only known for its famous seafood and the third largest European seaport for goods and cargo handling1, but also a considerable and noteworthy jurisdiction when it comes to the protection and enforcement of trade mark rights in preliminary proceedings.
The Higher Regional Court of Hamburg found in a recent trade mark dispute in preliminary injunction proceedings (Decision of 29 September 2022 – 5 U 91/21) between the “Deutsche Telekom” (“Claimant”) and the Spanish telecommunication company “Telefónica” and its German subsidiary (together “Defendants”), that the application and use of a “T” consisting of five dots in combination with various Telefónica company symbols (e.g. shown below left and middle) (“Contested Signs”) constitute an infringement of the well-known “T-brand” (shown below right) (EUTM 215194 ; DE 39529531) of Deutsche Telekom (“T-Trade Mark”).
The Court found that there was a likelihood of confusion between the opposing signs, confirmed that the “T”-brand has a reputation within the meaning of Art. 9 (2) lit. c) of the EU Trade Mark Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2017/1001), and therefore concluded that the defendant’s trade mark infringes the claimant’s trade mark rights resulting in the grant of a preliminary injunction (“PI”).
Virtual products, the metaverse, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have recently been expanding and receiving considerable attention from investors, the general public; as well as the art world. Within the span of a year, NFT-backed virtual works of art have been reaching new height, from Beeple, Everydays: The First 5000 Days (March 2021 – US$69.3 million) to The Merge (December 2021 – US$91.8 million). Today, the most valuable living artist in history is a virtual work of art author (Pak, author of The Merge).
Bad faith has been a hot topic in UK and EU trade mark matters in recent years – not least in the sports world where recent prominent cases have concerned the football superstars, and one time teammates, Lionel Messi and Neymar. Whilst in those cases bad faith was found to be a valid ground for refusal of the trade marks in question, which the players did not consent to, a recent decision of the Appointed Person in the United Kingdom has provided an important clarification on how bad faith objections must be raised in the UK.
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.
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).
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.
Fashion mogul and former Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham has lost the first round of a trade mark battle with Australian skincare brand, VB Skinlab, in relation to two of VB Skinlab’s pending Australian trade mark applications for the “VB” brand filed in March 2018. A full copy of the decision can be found here.