1 OHIM doesn't dig Digi- marks

Yesterday the European Court of Justice's Court of First Instance (CFI) rejected two Community trade mark appeals in Joined Cases T‑178/03 and T-179/03, CeWe Color AG & Co. OHG v OHIM. CeWe filed to register the word marks DigiFilm and DigiFilmMaker. OHIM refused the registration for various goods and services in Classes 9 and 42 on the grounds that the marks were descriptive and lacked distinctiveness. The Office found that ‘digi’ was a modern English-language abbreviation of ‘digital’ and that DigiFilm and DigiFilmMaker referred directly to the following respective meanings: (i) digital film and (ii) a person who makes digital films or instruments used to that effect (digital film-maker). It also considered that juxtaposition of the terms ‘Digi’, ‘Film’ and ‘Maker’ did not give rise to any additional character conferring distinctiveness on the marks in respect of which registration was sought. CeWe appealed.

Dismissing the appeal, the CFI affirmed the descriptiveness ground and spared itself the need to review distinctiveness on the basis that, once one absolute bar to registration is found to operate, there's no need to consider the others. The fact that the two words were neologisms and did not appear in any dictionary did not make them registrable as trade marks.

The IPKat agrees. CeWe's arguments before the CFI read like a sad blend of the optimistic, the speculative, the spurious and the desperate. Merpel says, they should have tried DigiTalis (right).

2 Latest IP&T

The August/September paper-based issue of Butterworths' internet-based Intellectual Property and Technology Cases law reports is as black, sleek and shiny as usual. Cases reported in this issue are

* SPAG v OHIM (Case T-57/03, the HOOLIGAN/OLLY GAN Community trade mark opposition appeal to the CFI),

* Celltech R&D v OHIM (Case T-260/03, is the CELLTECH word mark non-distinctive or descriptive?),

* Lidl Stiftung v OHIM (Case T-296/02, the thoroughly confusing LINDERHOF/LINDENHOF CTM opposition),

* Hormel Foods v Antilles Landscape Investments (Richard Arnold QC's classic "plague on both your houses" judgment in the spat between SPAM and SPAMBUSTERS) and

* R. Griggs Group v Evans (Court of Appeal's ruling on the ownership of copyright in a Doc Martens/AirWair logo).

3 CLA Conference

IPKat co-blogmeister Jeremy received a visit this week from Enrique Batalla, an amazing enthusiast who has done so much to promote the Computer Law Association's annual European Conference. The 2005 conference will be held at the Grand Hotel, Stockholm (Sweden) from 27 to 28 October (click here for the programme).

More to the point, Enrique (left) says the CLA is looking for fresh speakers with new ideas. Talks at the CLA's European meeting are short and sharp, rather than long, rambling and descriptive. So if you have a theme you'd like to develop, contact Enrique and see if you can get on next year's programme (Prague 2006). Important point to note: unlike many computer lawyers, Enrique is very sympathetic and responsive to intellectual property issues ...
FRIDAY KAT-ALOGUE FRIDAY KAT-ALOGUE Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, September 09, 2005 Rating: 5

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