The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
InternKats: Rose Hughes, Ieva Giedrimaite, and Cecilia Sbrolli
SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Tuesday, 17 January 2006


Another bad day for the English language

Two fresh IP items have appeared on the Curia website today. The first is the European Court of Justice ruling in Case T-398/04 Henkel v OHIM (where, so far as the IPKat can tell, the ECJ dismissed an appeal against the refusal to register as a Community trade mark a sign consisting of a 'tablette rectangulaire rouge and blanc avec un noyau ovale bleu', as illustrated above, right).

The second is Case C-145/05, an Opinion of the ever-eloquent, erudite and undoubtledly influential Advocate-General Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer in Levi Strauss, a matter which apparently addresses the registrability of pocket shapes (left and right) and which is available in Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish and Swedish. The IPKat doesn't have a clue what the AG has recommended, but the bottom line appears to be this:

"43. Aufgrund dieser Erwägungen schlage ich dem Gerichtshof vor, die von der belgischen Cour de cassation vorgelegten Fragen wie folgt zu beantworten:

1. Verletzt ein Zeichen, das einer Marke ähnlich ist, diese dadurch, dass es die Gefahr von Verwechslungen hervorruft, hat das nationale Gericht zur Bestimmung des Umfangs des Schutzes, den diese gemäß Artikel 5 Absatz 1 der Richtlinie 89/104/EWG des Rates vom 21. Dezember 1988 zur Angleichung der Rechtsvorschriften der Mitgliedstaaten über die Marken ordnungsgemäß aufgrund ihrer Unterscheidungskraft erworbene Marke genießt, zu prüfen, wie die angesprochenen Verkehrskreise sie zu dem Zeitpunkt wahrgenommen haben, zu dem mit der Benutzung des Zeichens begonnen wurde.

2. Wird die Verletzung einer eingetragenen Marke festgestellt, dann hat das nationale Gericht auch zu entscheiden, ob die gerichtliche Anordnung, die Benutzung des Verletzungszeichens zu unterlassen, eine Maßnahme darstellt, die im Licht aller Umstände zum Zeitpunkt der Entscheidung geeignet ist, den Schutz der Rechte sicherzustellen, die dem Inhaber einer Marke durch die Richtlinie 89/104 gewährt werden.

3. Das nationale Gericht kann jedoch vom Erlass dieser Anordnung absehen, wenn die Marke aufgrund des Verhaltens oder der Untätigkeit ihres Inhabers ihre Unterscheidungskraft verloren hat, sofern dieser in einer Entscheidung einer zuständigen Stelle hierfür ausdrücklich verantwortlich gemacht worden ist".
If any kind reader can post, as a Comment below, what the AG is actually saying, the Kat would be extremely grateful. Merpel says, it can't be very important if it hasn't been translated into English ...

Only two days to go ...

... till the end of the IPKat's Limerick Competition. Remember, the prize is free entry to CLT's 10th Annual Intellectual Property Law Conference next Tuesday, 24 January, at London's rather comfy Cafe Royal. While the IPKat has received some excellent entries so far (all, however, printable), he'd love some more of the same. So, if you haven't yet entered, now's your chance! Best entries will be published on this very blog.

How to win competitions here and here
How to lose competitions here (why did you look?)


Anonymous said...

A very rough and ready translation from the German:

"43. In light of these considerations, I would propose that the Court of Justice answer the questions referred by the Belgian cour de cassation as follows:

1. If a sign which is similar to a trade mark infringes said mark in that it gives rise to the likelihood of confusion, the national court has to examine for the determination of the scope of protection the trade mark properly acquired on the basis of its distinctive character enjoys in accordance with Article 5 (1) Council Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the member states relating to trade marks how the addressed public perceived said trade mark at the time the use of the sign began.

2. If the infringement of a registered trade mark is found, the national court then also has to decide whether the court order to cease and desist from the use of the infringing sign represents a measure suitable to ensure the protection of the rights granted to the proprietor of a trade mark by Directive 89/104.

3. The national court can, however, refuse the granting of this order if the trade mark has lost its distinctive character due to the conduct or lack of action of its proprietor, provided that said proprietor has been explicitly made responsible for this in a decision of a responsible authority."

P.S. I really enjoy your site.

Jeremy said...

Thanks Jeff for being so helpful. We really appreciate it.

Subscribe to the IPKat's posts by email here

Just pop your email address into the box and click 'Subscribe':