The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) recently rendered a decision on trademark use in the field of textiles that is worth reading.
In general, use as a trademark requires that a significant part of the relevant public recognizes a sign as indicating the origin of a product. For that, it is not sufficient that a sign is originally distinctive and that its use is not plainly descriptive. Instead, use as a trademark has to be assessed in each case individually taking into account all circumstances of the case. Thus, use of a first name like “SAM” as a model designation can also constitute use as a trademark and, in consequence, be deemed trademark infringement.
On 20 February 2018, the General Court of the European Union (GC) upheld the previous decision of Board of Apeal of EUIPO (BoA) when it found the trademark “BEPOST” and the trademarks “POST” and “ePOST” to be sufficiently visually and aurally different to rule out a likelihood of confusion.
During a period of worldwide financial instability German SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), the so-called Mittelstand, are leading the way in Europe’s largest economy and are the answer to financial recovery and prosperity.
On 18 January 2018, the General Court of the European Union (GC) upheld the decision of the Board of Appeal in the case T-804/16. LG´s application for the EU word mark “Dual Edge” was found to lack distinctive character and was therefore refused to be registered by the EUIPO.
On 18 January 2018, the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union (EUIPO) published its opinion paper answering the most burning questions concerning the impact of the UK´s withdrawal from the EU regarding EU Trademarks and EU Designs.
On 20 December 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave its opinion on the “Champagner Sorbet” case. The Court stated the conditions of using the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for “Champagne” on a product which only contained 12% of Champagne.
On 20 December 2017, the Court of Appeal in Sweden sentenced some of the scammers from the Uppsala trademark scam case to serve a prison sentence. They were found guilty of fraud for sending misleading invoices to EU trademark owners using the name “OMIH” on the letterhead.
On 11 January 2018, Melchior Wathelet, the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), published his opinion about the dispute concerning the Neuschwanstein EU trademark. In his opinion, he recommended the CJEU to uphold the previous decision of the General Court. Wathelet states that the trademark is not descriptive for the goods and services covered and therefore there is no legal barrier for its registration.
On 30 November 2017, the European General Court (EGC) upheld the previous decision of the Board of Appeal of the EUIPO in the joined cases T-101/15 and T-102/15, Red Bull v EUIPO. The EGC confirmed that the registered trademark consisting of two colors allowed several different combinations as the application did not display the requirements of precision and uniformity set out by Article 4 of Regulation No 207/2009. Now, the case continues to the next instance and so the highest court in the EU, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), will have the last word, whether the color combination will further benefit from legal protection.