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.

  Weiterlesen über „Model: Sam“ - Use as a trademark or a simple model designation?

We have often talked about the correlation between a brand and intellectual property. In the simplest of terms, one can hardly go without the other. Recognizing the importance of brands for the economy, Interbrand, a global consultancy, started publishing their annual Interbrand Breakthrough Brands list. The 2017 one has been made available recently and can be found here.


On 1 June 2017, WIPO introduced a new system of tracking international trademark applications: and in comes the Madrid Monitor!




Every quarter WIPO updates IP professionals with all novelties in the Madrid System.  Published on 18 April 2017, this year´s first newsletter starts with the recollection of WIPO´s record-breaking 2016 and the statistics behind it (for our summary, click here).

Marques needs little introduction in the IP community. It is a European association, aiming to educate and help brand and trademark owners to navigate through the demands of the global economy. One of the methods of achieving their goal is through conferences, meetings, and events. Always focusing on a currently problematic topic, the latest series of lectures was on industrial designs, titled “Mastering the Hague Agreement: from Asia to the USA, through the EU”. Additional focus was put on the 2014/2015 newcomers to the Hague family, namely South Korea, Japan and the US.

On 25 April 2017 it was Munich´s IP practitioners’ turn to listen to the amazing, concentrated presentations delivered by Gregoire Bisson, WIPO´s The Hague Registry Brands and Designs Sector Director, and Oliver Nilgen, a member of the Marques Designs Team.

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.