couple of weeks ago, the Corte di Cassazione (Italian Supreme Court) gave judgment in a trade mark infringement and unfair competition action, offering a
broad construction of the concept of "secondary meaning" under Article 13
of the Italian Industrial Property Code D.Lgs. 30/2005.
In the light of all the circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court held that the concept of secondary meaning may thus be used to pursue every nuance in the evolution of a trade mark's distinctive character. The fact that a claimant has a mark with weak distinctive character does not prevent a court awarding protection to it against the use of a third party’s sign which relies on merely token variations but which in effect misappropriates the mark’s dominant and most distinctive elements. If that were not so, trade mark protection would be limited to cases where the signs were identical or where a likelihood of confusion was based on highly distinctive marks, thus excluding the possibility of protecting weak trade marks -- and the Court of Bari had recognised that Natuzzi's marks possessed a minimum of distinctiveness even though they were weak.