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Friday, 19 December 2003

NON-CONVENTIONAL TRADE MARKS AND COMMUNITY LAW

Non-Conventional Trade Marks and Community Law is the title of an attractive and topical book by Stefano Sandri and Sergio Rizzi. Although they still represent only a tiny proportion of trade mark applications in Europe and elsewhere, non-conventional marks such as shapes, sounds, smells, colours and tastes have preoccupied both private practitioners and their clients a great deal of late, which is why Thomas P. Arden's little book on the same subject in the United States has proved popular even among practitioners who do not regularly find themselves filing applications to register weird and wacky marks.

Published by MARQUES, from whom the book may be purchased online, this volume is excellent value for money: its nearly 350 pages are still on offer from MARQUES at the pre-publication price of €35 (£25), plus a postage and packaging charge of €5 (£3.50). The full cover price is €50 (£30). Stefano Sandri will be known to many IPKat readers as the first chairman of OHIM's Third Board of Appeal. A colourful character and a lively thinker, Professor Sandri is currently Intellectual Property consultant to the Italian Ministry of Industry. His co-author, Sergio Rizzi, practises as an attorney in the local Alicante office of Spanish law firm Garrigues. Between them they have put together a thoroughly useful collation of primary legal sources, cases and decisions, together with some cogent writing on the problem areas relating to non-conventional marks. The authors address not just Community trade mark issues but also the approaches taken in leading national jurisdictions within the European Union. Their analysis extends beyond the “traditionalâ€� non-conventional marks to cover such issues as the registrability of light marks, tactile marks and sequences of images. What the book does not do -- possibly because at this stage in European jurisprudence the issue is largely speculative -- is to tackle issues relating to infringement and defences to infringement. It is hoped that, with the growth of case law and of our own practical experience, a second edition of this book will be able to encompass such topics.

No book on the subject of non-conventional trade marks is ever going to be current by the time it is published and this book went to press before the late September OHIM decision on sonograms in "Roar of the Lion"was published. The book was also too early for last month's ECJ judgment in Shield Mark , but that is no hardship since the book addresses the Opinion of the Advocate General, which the court followed. Nonetheless, the worth of books on trade mark law in this era of rapid change is not to be measured by their currency but by the quality of their writing. In this regard, the two authors have made a valuable contribution to debate on the registrability of non-conventional marks and should be congratulated for it.

More strange marks here and here
What Strange Marks sound like

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