Can you perceive it? Breakthrough for Nestle 4 finger shape mark – CJEU speaks on test for acquired distinctiveness

Study trade mark law, they said. It will be easy, they said … Don’t you believe it. We go on about it all the time here at IP Whiteboard: trade mark law is incredibly nuanced. A recent example of this is the decision from Europe’s highest court (the CJEU) relating to our beloved Kit Kat read more...

Google’s new branding – trade mark issues for giants

Well, what do you think? Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed. Looks pretty good to me. I particularly like the new G logo.                 It is interesting to consider the portfolio management issues the re-brand poses, in this case from an Australian perspective. Does Google’s fame help it or hinder it in terms of its read more...

Combination marks – the limits of Medion further defined by Arnold J in Jura Origin case

The European Court of Justice’s decision in Medion (Case C-120/04) is one that can provoke vitriol among even the calmest of practitioners. That case involved an infringement action taken against the use of the mark THOMSON LIFE by Thomson, in the face of Medion’s earlier registration for LIFE. The court ruled as follows: “ … read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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Duelling Ukuleles and Sofa Workshops – recent cases highlight advantages of national protection alongside CTM registrations, and the continued importance of passing off

A few weeks ago the UK Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Starbucks HK (not the coffee company) in a passing off case. The UKSC confirmed the fundamental requirement of goodwill in the UK in order to bring such an action in the UK. Mere reputation is not enough. You can see the update from read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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“Re-calculating … turn around when possible” – In TomTom decision, clear thinking on “wrong way round” confusion

We’ve devoted a bit of airspace to that hoary old chestnut, reverse (or “wrong way round”) confusion. See our earlier notes on the Glee and Europcar cases (here, here and here). It’s an interesting issue, and it’s also incredibly important in the context of a global economy in which fame can arrive overnight. Given the read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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Does it matter which Board of Appeal hears your case when it comes to the distinctiveness inquiry under article 7(1)(b)?

— An edited version of this article first appeared on IPKat on 12 November 2014 — Some recent decisions – and topical ones at that, with the holiday season imminently approaching for this new father (hi Jack and Willy!) – relating to the treatment of 2D and 3D marks for toys suggest that there might read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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You ain’t nothing but a hound dog (or an immaterial variation thereof)! Hush Puppies logo CTM survives non-use action

In El Corte Ingles v Wolverine World Wide, Inc, the much beloved logo of Hush Puppies (hereinafter, hound) has survived a non-use attack in Europe in some key classes. Although WWW was ultimately successful in partially defending the non-use action, the case is a reminder of the much higher burden faced in saving a Community read more...
Subjects: Trade marks

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