As of 23 March, the Office's name has changed to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The name of the unitary trade mark administered by the Office has changed to the European Union trade mark.

These changes took effect upon the entry into force of Regulation (EU) 2015/2424.

With the CJEU´s ruling on 17 February 2016, a lengthy saga concerning Adidas might have come to an end. After contesting everything from two to five stripes, creating and using an abundance of case law, logging a fair share of hours in the courtroom, it might have all- at least in the EU- come down to one thing: acquired distinctiveness.

On 26 February 2016, the European General Court (EGC) upheld OHIM´s decision dated 13 May 2014 and ruled in favor of Renfro Corp., deciding that the name “HOT SOX” for hosiery is not descriptive and does not lack distinctiveness.

The Federal Administrative Court in Switzerland recently ruled that Apple’s home button cannot be registered as a trademark as it lacks distinctive character. The Court did not find it evident that the mark had acquired distinctiveness. (Judgement B-2418_2014 of 17 February 2016).

As you might already be aware, the European trademark law and practice has been subject to some changes in recent months which may also affect your registered Community Trademark(s) or your International Registration(s) designating the EU. We would, therefore, like to provide our clients with a brief overview of the most important changes and point out where it might be appropriate to take action. The information contained in this letter is of general nature, but we are, of course, always available in case of questions and for further explanations. Should we, in addition, see any need for you to take specific actions regarding your own trademarks, we will contact you individually during the next weeks and inform you accordingly.


The European General Court (EGC) decided that the sole shape of the crest of the FC Barcelona has no distinctive character neither itself or through use (Judgment dated 10 December 2015; Case No.: T-615/14).

Background of the Case and Subject Matter  

On 24 April 2013, Fútbol Club Barcelona (FC Barcelona) filed an application for registration of a Community Trademark (CTM) at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). The figurative mark in respect of which registration was sought is the shape of the crest of the FC Barcelona (see below) for – among others – stationery, clothing items and sports activities.

The European General Court (EGC) ruled that the shape of the new Coca-Cola bottle cannot be protected as a three-dimensional trademark because it is devoid of any distinctive character (Case T-411/14, Judgement of 24 February 2016).

Background of the Case and Subject Matter

In December 2011, the famous Coca-Cola Company Ltd filed an application for registration of a Community Trademark (CTM) at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) for the following three-dimensional mark for - inter alia – metallic, glass and plastic bottles:

The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled that smartphone apps can – in principal – be protected as work titles (Case I ZR 202/14, Judgement of 28 January 2016).

Background of the Case and Subject Matter

Every April 26 – the day on which the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) Convention came into force in 1970 – the World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated to promote discussions of the role of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity. The WIPO’s member states designated this day with the aim of increasing the general understanding of intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, designs, patents, utility models etc. Each year, a special topic and focus is picked.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has recently published the Global Innovation Index (GII) Report about the latest trends in intellectual property (IP) activity worldwide. Patent and Trademark filings showed a strong growth in 2014 while industrial design applications declined for the first time in two decades.