The current (April 2010) issue of Sweet & Maxwell's European Trade Mark Reports (click here for details) carries reports on various important recent trade mark cases, the first of which is an English translation of the ruling of the Court of Appeal of 's Hertengebosch in Revillon Chocolatier v Trianon Chocolatiers BV. This was a hard-fought trade mark infringement action brought by the owner of a three-dimensional chocolate twig trade mark and an equally keenly-contested counterclaim for invalidity. This drama has plenty to chew over: whether a chocolate twig is devoid of distinctive character; whether such shapes should be kept free for use by others; whether twig shapes are such as to give value to the product in question. The same issue of the ETMR contains the fascinating Battle of the Bottle, between Diageo, a leading company in the vodka market, and the makers of a non-vodka product called VODKAT.
The Romanian rock band Vama recently lost its legal battle against another rock band, Trupa Veche, over copyright infringement involving the songs composed during the existence of their common former band Vama Veche. While this sort of thing is almost routine in England, where old rockers, survivors of the '60s, struggle to remember what happened 40 years or more ago, this is the first time that a Romanian court has ruled on any copyright infringement dispute between two such bands. Three members of Trupa Veche sued Vama in December 2006 for performing the former band’s songs on tour without their approval. On 11 March this year the Romanian Supreme Court ruled against Vama on the infringement issue, ordered them to pay EUR 15,000 in damages and legal costs, and ordered them not to perform Vama Veche's songs without the authors’ consent. Source: Petosevic, 30 March.