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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Small, convivial messages: how the French send their textos

The IPKat has heard from his friend Jean-Philippe Bresson (Inlex) that registration of the French trade mark TEXTO, for services in Class 38, has been cancelled following a decision last month of the Cour d'appel de Paris.

The TEXTO mark, owned by French phone operator SFR, was originally filed in 2001 for “services of written messages for radio-phones” -- which sounds a bit like text messages, doesn't it? SFR actually commenced the sequence of events leading to the demise of its mark when it sued another French company, ONE TEXTO, which was incorporated for the purposes of “communication, marketing, advertising, mobile telephony, SMS for business and management and for robotic and hi-tech fields”. ONE TEXTO also filed its name as a trade mark in 2003 in services in classes 35, 38 and 42, apart from owning the onetexto.com domain name.

ONE TEXTO in turn sought the cancellation of the earlier trade mark for descriptiveness. Several publications and articles were submitted as evidence in order to demonstrate that “TEXTO” was known by the public as the name of "a small written and convivial message sent by mobile phone" [Jean-Philippe's charming definition].

The Cour d'appel ruled that, at the time of filing of the mark “TEXTO”, that word was indeed usual for designating a message sent by phone and was not particularly associated with the plaintiff. Being a usual designation of a service in the current language, cancellation of the mark was thus upheld by the court. Comments Jean-Philippe: "
We remain a bit surprised that SFR refrained from arguing that the mark TEXTO had acquired a distinctive character through long and intensive use. But the matter is strategically interesting for any company operating in relation to telephone communication services/activities but also while considering suing a competitor on the basis of a mark which distinctiveness is likely to be discussed".
Feed your cat via text message here
How to make a cat in a text message format here

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