News from Italy

The IPKat has been perusing the abstract of the latest work of his old friend Professor Stefano Sandri. This reads:

"We may perceive what we don’t see and we may see what we don’t perceive. These two phenomena also apply to trade marks. Courts, in particular, the European Court of Justice, seem to give more and more consideration to how consumers perceive trade marks. However, legal scholars have not yet thoroughly investigated this issue, even though existing legislation as well as many Courts’ decisions refer to concepts which belong to psychology and cognitive science. Examples are the concepts of “likelihood of association”, “global impression” or “dominant elements in composite marks”, where so far only mere legal and abstract standards are usually applied.

The idea in this book is to better understand how the relevant public reacts when it encounters a sign we consider a trade mark. Thus the first part of his book explores the fascinating word of the science of perception, trying to identify those main essential characters of a trade mark which may provide assistance to judges and lawyers in defining, for instance, the degree of distinctiveness of a trade mark or in assessing if the consumer may be led into assuming a confusing similarity between two trade marks. To find such main elements, the author proposes a model based on a semantic-based theory of interpretation of the signs, examining the mechanics and the processes of the perception. In this model, the process starts from the analysis of the consumer’s instantaneous awareness of a mark, moves to the analysis of memorisation of the mark and ends in the analysis of the way the consumes recalls the mark. The second part examines some well-known decisions on Community trade marks to verify whether the “legal” outcome is consistent with the perception-based model.

This book may be the first attempt to integrate, through an interdisciplinary approach, the rules of perception with the current legal-only treatment of trade marks. The author concludes that, while we need not replace law with psychology, we ought also to base decisions on trade marks on scientific and objective contributions derived from the understanding of cognitive and perception-based mental processes, to avoid the uncertainty and unpredictability which still affects too many trade marks cases".
The Kat has learned that Stefano is now looking for a translator, whose mother tongue is English but who is familiar with both Italian and trade marks, to prepare an English version. If you'd like to be considered for the job, email Stefano here.

While on the subject, Stefano Sandri and his colleague Lorenzo Litta publish an IP blog for the Italian Foreign Trade Commission (ICE - Istituto per il Commercio con l'Estero) called CATCH US IF YOU CAN !!!. This blog tries to approach IP in a semi-serious way, since its scope is to create an open forum where everyone may contribute to divulge, explore and discuss IP issues as well as related topics. Until recently all this excellent blog's posts were published in Italian only but, since September, it has carried English-language posts too, in order to enlarge its "community". This move has involved their colleague Fabio Angelini, who contributing his "FA ECJ's flashes" in English. Says Lorenzo:
"If anyone is interested in contributing, can they please send me their posts and I will take care of them. All contributions will be acknowledged".
News from Italy News from Italy Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, November 12, 2007 Rating: 5

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