BPI’s Fragrance bottle shape mark rejected – but how different is distinctive enough?

The fragrance industry isn’t just about smelling good and paying people to take most of their clothes off and spray you with something as you walk by. In this market, the way a product is packaged is incredibly important. Is it not clear – based on years and years of educating consumers – that the shapes of fragrance bottles can …

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No surprises? Keds’ side by side two stripe position mark rejected by OHIM’s Board of Appeal

Following hot on the heels (no pun intended!) of the decision of the Federal Court of Australia in adidas v Pacific Brands in Australia last year (in which KWM acted for adidas, here), position and logo marks in the fashion space are really hitting the headlines again in 2014. We reported earlier on the rejection of NYDJ’s jeans stitching mark …

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Nappy Land is not happy land: no love on Valentine’s Day for National Australian Nappies

Valentine’s Day and nappies don’t usually appear in the same sentence. However, in a decision handed down by the Federal Court on 14 February 2014 (CI JI Family Pty Limited v National Australian Nappies (NAN) Pty Limited [2014] FCA 79) the Federal Court has reminded trade mark owners that they cannot view their marks as an ace-in-the-hole when it comes …

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Pucker up for some trade mark action –“Kiss”-ing just got a whole lot more legal

It was news enough when high profile radio duo Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson (known on air as “Jackie O”) moved to the Australian Radio Network’s (‘ARN’) Sydney Mix station late last year, with their new show commencing in January. Sydney Mix then decided to re-launch the station under the ‘Kiis’ FM brand (a station used in North America by …

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Court finds Optus misled consumers on network coverage

If you heard the following sentence in an advertisement, what would you think it means? “When it comes to the percentage of Australians the Optus mobile network reaches, there isn’t much difference between us and Telstra. In fact, it’s less than 1%.” What about if, as the voiceover was playing, the advertisement moved through images that showed a map of …

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Not Your Daughter’s Jeans – Chances of registering a position mark slimmer in New Zealand as compared to Australia. But should they be?

First there were corsets, then shaping underwear (Spanx, anyone?) and now slimming jeans. Often these garments are hidden from view, but the consumer knows exactly what they are looking for leading up to and beyond the point of sale. But are our decision-makers keeping up with the times when businesses try to protect their valuable brands? A recent decision in …

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Give me a break – Kit Kat reference setting the bar too high on factual distinctiveness for shape marks?

Before we hit the law-talking stuff, I’ll declare an interest: I’m a bit of a fan of the Kit Kat. I would recognize one without its packaging, and I am quite confident that I would recognize one if I was blindfolded. Oh, and the branding around the humble Kit Kat has resulted in some of the most interesting and important …

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Quality, not quantity, the key to inventorship

Neobev Pty Limited v Bacchus Distillery Pty Limited (Administrators Appointed)[1], a decision of Besanko J of the Federal Court published earlier this year, provides insight into the vexed question of joint inventorship – just what does it mean to be a joint inventor of an invention that is the subject of a patent? The respondent, Bacchus Distillery, was a small …

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Ungentlemanly conduct? Jack Wills v The House of Fraser in battle of British bird brands

In Jack Wills Ltd v House of Fraser (Stores) Ltd [2014] EWHC 110, Arnold J has held that House of Fraser’s use of a pigeon logo on clothing products infringes Jack Wills trade mark registration for its Mr Wills logo. The decision underscores the value of registering logos as trade marks, and provides additional support (if it was needed at …

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