For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Ferrero 5 Fifa 0 -- but will there be a replay?

If you looked at the Board of Appeal decisions on the OHIM website, as the IPKat did just now, you will have noticed that there are no decisions dated between 19 June and 23 June 2008. This is slightly odd, because the Kat has in his possession a series of five extremely interesting decisions of the Board, all of which are dated 20 June 2008.

Right: Fifa's excellent figurative Community trade mark, which -- unlike the word marks listed below -- was not under threat in these proceedings

The decisions are not joined, though they are clearly similar: they are Cases R 1466/2005-1, R 1467/2005-1, R 1468/2005-1, R 1469/2005-1 and R 1470/2005-1. All are appeals brought by Ferrero oHG mbH against the refusal of the Cancellation Division to cancel marks belonging to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association -- better known as Fifa.

The five marks in dispute are not hugely current any more in terms of their commercial value, since they relate to an event which briefly obsessed a large proportion of sports fans. They are

* WORLD CUP 2006 (referring to the football world cup);
* GERMANY 2006 (the event taking place in Germany);
* WM 2006 (WM = Weltmeisterschaft, "World Cup" or World Championship" in German)
* WORLD CUP GERMANY;
* WORLD CUP 2006 GERMANY.
The grounds upon which the registrations were challenged was that the signs in question were descriptive and lacked distinctive character. The Cancellation Division presumably felt confident that this was not so, but the Board of Appeal, annulling all five of its decisions in rulings of 30-odd pages in length, thought otherwise.

The IPKat congratulates the Board of Appeal for having the courage (i) to refuse the request to convene a Grand Board to hear these cases, since they raised no issue of legal difficulty and (ii) to apply Community trade mark law as it stands, fairly and impartially, in the face of some pretty vigorous assertions from the Community trade mark proprietor.

Merpel says, what I find interesting is the wide range of goods and services for which Fifa sought protection of their marks. I wasn't expecting to find any of these on the list:
* Class 5 – feminine hygienic products; fungicides, herbicides; deodorants for non personal use.

* Class 8 – electric or non-electric razors, including razor blades; depilatory devices; tweezers; curling tongs; kitchen scissors.

* Class 10 - nursing bottles; condoms.

* Class 31 – Foodstuff for animals; fresh berries; fresh vegetables; flowers; litter for animals.

* Class 34 – Matches; lighters; cigarette cases, ashtrays, smoker's articles made of non-precious metal; cigarettes; tobacco.
Both Kats agree that the real importance of these decisions lies not in these marks but in the message that organisers of sports events in the future will be receiving. If GERMANY 2008 does not meet the criteria for valid registration, will LONDON 2012, for example, fare any better?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This failure to publish BoA decisions might be due to the installation of a new upgrated version of their softwares, seems the new web site has some problems

Anonymous said...

How does this compare to the recent EURO2008 decision?

Anonymous said...

How come the BoA has been so slow to take a decision on this case?
Wubbo, you should really hire fresh blood

Anonymous said...

Probably the Board has not been slow but careful. You'd better be careful with FIFA and Ferrero.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's wait and read. Inter partes proceedings take longer, probably parties must receive the possibility to express themselves, communications might have been sent, etc.

Anonymous said...

The decisions are now available on the OHIM homepage (http://oami.europa.eu/search/legaldocs/la/en_boa_index.cfm)

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to track down the actual text of the decisions...can someone please steer me in the right direction?

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