This is a mammoth week for trade mark litigation before the European Court of Justice. Tomorrow, Tuesday 12 June we await Case C-334/05 P Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market v Shaker, the celebrated Limonchelo case (see earlier IPKat note here).
Then on Wednesday 13 June we have a hearing in Case C-193/06 P Nestlé v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market - the Quick Restaurants case, which up to now has steadfastly refused to break into English.
Next, Thursday 14 June there is Judgment Day in Case C- 246/05 Armin Häupl and Lidl Stiftung & Co KG. This is a reference for a preliminary ruling on the following questions:
"1. Is Article 10(1) of Council Directive 89/104 ... to be interpreted as meaning that the 'date of the completion of the registration procedure' means the start of the period of protection?This case, too, has avoided attention among English speakers. The Advocate General however advised the court as follows:
2. Is Article 12(1) of Council Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks to be interpreted as meaning that there are proper reasons for non-use of a mark if the implementation of the corporate strategy being pursued by the trade mark proprietor is delayed for reasons outside the control of the undertaking, or is the trade mark proprietor obliged to change his corporate strategy in order to be able to use the mark in good time?".
"82. À la lumière des observations qui précèdent, je suggère à la Cour de répondre aux questions préjudicielles formulées par l’Oberster Patent- und Markensenat, comme suit:If you want to know the story so far, you can get it from the IPKat here.
«1) L’expression ‘date à laquelle la procédure d’enregistrement est terminée’, de l’article 10, paragraphe 1, de la première directive 89/104/CEE du Conseil, 21 décembre 1988, rapprochant les législations des États membres sur les marques, ne fait pas référence au début de la période de protection, avec lequel elle peut coïncider, mais à la date à laquelle l’autorité compétente, conformément à sa législation nationale, ou, dans le cas d’une marque internationale, le Bureau international, clôt la procédure d’enregistrement.
2) L’article 12, paragraphe 1, de la directive 89/104 doit s’interpréter au sens où les causes justifiant le non-usage de la marque doivent être indépendantes de la volonté du titulaire et constituer un obstacle à l’usage de la marque. Si elles répondent à ces deux conditions, les formalités administratives appartiennent à cette catégorie de motifs justificatifs, ce qui n’est pas le cas lorsqu’elles entravent la réalisation d’une stratégie commerciale, puisque l’entreprise conserve tout son pouvoir de décision pour l’adapter aux aléas administratifs. Il incombe à la chambre de renvoi d’apprécier les éléments de fait à la lumière de ces indications".
Down in the Court of First Instance there's even more going on. On Tuesday 12 June the Second Chamber is giving judgment in Case T-105/05 Assembled Investments (Proprietary) v OHIM - Waterford Wedgwood (the WATERFORD STELLENBOSCH case). Here the applicant to register the WATERFORD STELLENBOSCH figurative mark is seeking to set aside the Board of Appeal's reversal of the Opposition Division's original decision to uphold the opposition brought by the owner of the WATERFORD mark, alleging a likelihood of confusion in relation to goods in Classes 3, 8, 11, 21, 24 and 34.
On the same day we get judgment in Case T-339/05 MacLean-Fogg v OHIM (LOKTHREAD)
- an appeal against the continued refusal of registration of the word mark 'LOKTHREAD' for goods in Class 6; Judgment in Case T-190/05 Sherwin-Williams v OHIM (TWIST & POUR) - an appeal against the persistent refusal to register the word mark TWIST & POUR for products in Class 21. The big event of the day is however the judgments in a whole string of BUD-related cases:
* Joined Cases T-60/04, T-61/04, T-62/04, T-63/04, T-64/04 Budějovický Budvar v OHIM - Anheuser-Busch (BUD) - this being an action for annulment brought by the holder of the right to use the protected appellation of origin 'BUD' to designate beer against Decision R 107/2003-2 of the Second Board of Appeal, which itself dismissed the appeal against the decision of the Opposition Division rejecting the opposition against the application for registration of the word mark "BUD" for goods in Classes 9 and 14;
* Joined Cases T-53/04, T-54/04, T-55/04, T-56/04, T-58/04, T-59/04 Budějovický Budvar v OHIM - Anheuser-Busch (BUDWEISER) - this being an action for annulment brought by the holder of the right to use the protected appellations of origin 'BUDWEISER BIER', 'BUDWEISER BIER - BUDVAR', 'BUDWEISER BUDVAR' to designate beer against Decision R 820/2001-2 of the Second Board of Appeal, dismissing the appeal against the decision of the Opposition Division rejecting the opposition against the application for registration of the word mark 'BUDWEISER' for goods in Class 16;
* Joined Cases T-57/04, T-71/04 Budějovický Budvar v OHIM - Anheuser-Busch (BUDWEISER) - this being an action for annulment brought by the proprietor of the international figurative mark 'BUDWEISER BUDVAR' and holder of the right to use the protected appellations of origin 'BUDWEISER BIER', 'BUDWEISER BIER - BUDVAR', 'BUDWEISER BUDVAR' to designate beer against Decision R 1024/2001-2 of the Second Board of Appeal dismissing the appeal against the decision of the Opposition Division rejecting the opposition against the application for registration of the figurative mark 'BUDWEISER' for goods in Classes 16, 21, 25, 30 and 32.
If you've survived Budweiser Tuesday, there's more to come. On Wednesday 13 June there is judgment in Case T-167/05 Grether v OHIM - Crisgo (Thailand) - (FL FENNEL). This is an action by the proprietor of the Community word mark FENJAL in respect of goods in Class 3 against Decision R 250/2002-4 of the Fourth Board of Appeal dismissing its appeal against the Opposition Division's rejection of the opposition brought against the application for registration of the figurative mark 'FL FENNEL' in respect of goods in Class 3
On the same day there's judgment in Case T-441/05 IVG Immobilien v OHIM (I). This is an application to annul decision R 559/2004-4 of the Fourth Board of Appeal ,which dismissed the appeal against the decision of the examiner to refuse registration of the figurative 'I' mark for services in Classes 35, 36, 37, 39, 42 and 43.
With so many cases coming up so quickly, it is improbable that even the indefatiguable IPKat, aided and abetted by the mighty Merpel, will be able to provide full coverage of all of them. They'll do their best, though, to make sure that nothing important escapes their grasp.