You probably thought that the Adidas saga reached its end with last year´s European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling (case C396/15 P, summary). As it seems, the reality is different. In fact, with the latest EUIPO decisions on the three stripes, in all likelihood, we are at yet another beginning.

Do you know what is the link between the invention of the telephone and intellectual property? We all know Alexander Graham Bell as the one responsible for creating this groundbreaking item. However, evidence shows that the actual inventor was an Italian, Antonio Meucci. You may wonder, what kind of an upper-hand did Bell have over Meucci? The answer is: a patent, which Meucci could not afford. One 15$ patent application changed the course of history, with Meucci falling into oblivion, and Bell enjoying all the laurels.

Heads up! The new wave of IP legislation changes comes into force in less than six months from now. As we all know, the new Trademark regulation (Regulation (EU) 2015/2424) came into force on 23 March 2016. However, a few crucial articles apply only from 1 October 2017 on.

 

What are the changes?

Most notably, the graphical representation requirement will be removed. Instead, the stipulation of a clear, precise, self-contained, easily accessible, intelligible, durable and objective representation will be sufficient. To clarify these conditions, EUIPO will offer additional information, as well as samples of acceptable formats.

Every year in May, one city becomes the melting pot of all IP professionals. The “cause” is the International Trademark Association´s (or INTA, for short) annual meeting. Usually, the event takes place in the US. However, keeping true to the “IN” in “INTA”, the organizers try to leave North America every couple of years, and organize the meeting in another IP crossroads in the world. And after eight years of absence, the event is returning to Europe this year, as the location chosen is Spain, which is also the home of EUIPO. From 20 - 24 May 2017, Barcelona will host professionals from all over the world, introducing a new and diverse range of relevant IP-related topics, where everyone can find something of their interest.

In a recent case, the European General Court (EGC) touched upon several hot potatoes: one-letter marks, acquired distinctiveness and the difference between an identical and a similar good and service.

Background of the case

On 16 November 2011, Eolus Vind AB, a Swedish company involved in wind energy industry, applied to register a figurative mark consisting of a stylized letter “e” (EUTM no: 010420941). The registration covered a wide field of goods and services, from electrical energy deriving from wind power, construction and repair of wind power plants and energy distribution, to insurance and legal services. 

On 15 March 2017, WIPO published a press release, showing their 2016 in numbers. And there was a lot to celebrate, as 2016 marked a record-breaking number of patent, trademark and design applications, and a significant growth on all three fronts for the seventh year in a row.

On the gloomier note, the number of cybersquatting disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) broke a record as well, with its 10% rise in comparisom to the number in 2015.

 

Trademarks

Combining the fact that Italy is the third biggest producer of GI products in the EU and that Italian cuisine is cherished across the globe, it is safe to say that IP infringements are imminent. This time the legal battle stems from Tuscany, Italy´s fruitful producer of wine, cheese, cold cuts and, important for this case, extra virgin olive oil.

 

After a worrying OECD report last year (more on that here), this year the fight against pirated goods continued with a letter addressed to the president of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker.

Trademark Use in Germany and the EU - Why brand owners must use their trademarks

Trademarks present a link between a brand owner and its consumers. They are the easiest way to differentiate one product from another and one competitor from another, at the same time creating customer loyalty and strengthening of the brand. However, why do brand owners actually need to use their trademark if it is registered? This article tackles the importance of genuine trademark use and how to prove use in Germany and the EU.

How do you receive trademark protection in Germany and the EU?