Translations of Euro-decisions; The Battle of Magenta

Court of First Instance rulings on Community trade marks continue to vex the English-speaking world. This is because, from time to time, there is no official English version. Quite often this is (the IPKat believes) because someone within the CFI decides that the case isn't a particularly important one and that, since the court does not have unlimited funds to spend on translations, a decision must be taken that a particular case should not be translated.

Right: an ideal seasonal present for the European Union -- the gift of tongues

BUT many cases are more important than the decision-making official might appreciate, either because a point in it which appears trite to the CFI may seem less so in the eyes of a particular industrial or commercial sector or because other competitors in the market in which a Community trade mark registration is contested have a substantial commercial interest in its outcome.

In this context, the IPKat notes that the subscription-only PLC IPIT & Communications service often carries fairly speedy noted, in English, on cases that are not subjected to the CFI's translation treatment. Thus the recent French-only ruling in Marly (see the IPKat here) is noted here. The same service also ran a report on the Advocate General's Opinion in the European Court of Justice case of EUROHYPO, available in French but not, alas, in English. The Kat is delighted that services of this kind exist and wonders if readers can tell him of other services that provide notes and/or translations of rulings and Opinions into EU languages other than English.

The IPKat's friend, Polish blogger Tomasz Rychlicki, has drawn his attention to this campaign to prevent German telecom company T-Mobile from securing a monopoly of the use of the colour magenta (you can link to the campaign, plus various erudite comments and credits, via Tomasz's site here).

The IPKat adds only this: if the function of a trade mark is to protect goodwill and to help cement a relationship of respect and affection between the trade mark proprietor and its actual or prospective customers, the existence of sites such as this should act as a warning to businesses that their IP policies may alienate the very public whom they wish to woo. Merpel adds: this sort of thing is a product of poor public relations on the part of T-Mobile and weak general knowledge on the part of the public -- and it also reopens the serious issues relating to the monopolisation of colours for any commercial purposes.

More about magenta than you ever wanted to know here
The Battle of Magenta here
Translations of Euro-decisions; The Battle of Magenta Translations of Euro-decisions; The Battle of Magenta Reviewed by Jeremy on Sunday, November 11, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Check out the Dutch free magenta campaign as well.

  2. "Court of First Instance rulings on Community trade marks continue to vex the English-speaking world"....I find interesting that you mention always and only the "English-speaking world. There's a much bigger world outside, Jeremy, much bigger than the "English-speaking world".....

  3. Is the IPKat who continually complains about the non-existence of English language translations of court cases etc the same one who is looking forward to the day he doesn't have to translate his patents?

  4. I can't let these comments pass unanswered. I'm not against any other languages and believe that law should be available, to everyone who is affected by it, in a language in which they can understand it. That's why I support translation into English and am happy to support translation into other languages too.

    Nor am I opposed to the translation of patents which, I still believe, is a small price to pay for a potentially powerful monopoly.

    This blog is an English-language blog because the people who write it, and its readers, are able to share their ideas and their information in English. If legal rulings aren't available in a language we can understand, we can't discuss or advise on them.

  5. Jeremy, it seems I've done you an injustice. There have been many calls for patents to not require translations, and indeed the recent poll had "single language" as the most popular option. I rashly thought the IPKat had endorsed this view, while on looking more carefully I can find nothing of the sort.

    Interestingly, my "what the heck?" comment in response to that poll doesn't appear to have triggered any sort of refutation by any of those so keen to get rid of the translation requirement.


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