Wednesday wonders

Many readers wrote to ask whether there existed a transcript of the powerful speech delivered by Lord Justice Jacob at the European Commission's public meeting last week on the preliminary report of the Inquiry into the Pharma Sector (see IPKat post here). From the IPKat's friend Ian Kirby comes a link to it here -- the video and sound quality are reportedly very good.

Last week the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market announced the grant of the 500,000th Community trade mark but, the eagle-eyed IPKat spotted, forgot to tell anyone what it actually was. Apparently the Office's sophisticated trade mark search facilities don't allow it to search for trade marks that are literally under the Office's nose, having only just come into existence at that point. Anyway, there's a happy ending to the story. After hundreds of examiners linked arms and combed every square metre of beach in the hope of finding the mark before it was washed away in the tide, it turned up quite unexpectedly in the men's washrooms where it was threatening to make black marks on the towels. And here it is ...

Following yesterday's Rapid Response Seminar on the European Court of Justice ruling on last week's trade mark dilution in Case C-252/07 Intel Corp v CPM (UK) Ltd, jointly run by Class 46 and Hardwicke Building, the PowerPoint presentations of three of the four speakers (covering dilution in France, Germany and the Netherlands), together with a bonus in the form of an additional comment on the impact of Intel v CPM in Poland by Tomasz Rychlicki, specially prepared for the seminar, can be downloaded from the top of the sidebar of the Class 46 website. For the record, the event was a huge success and there are plans for more of the same.
Wednesday wonders Wednesday wonders Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 03, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Hooray! Congratulations to OHIM for overwhelming the European market with half a million CTM registrations. Safranek does not want to spoil the party mood, but warns his mate, the IPKat, not to fall for the marketing trick.

    Can it really be? 500,000 EU-wide ‘monopolies’? What is the real value of a monopoly if it has to be shared with so many other ‘monopolies’? OHIM has always been good with numbers. How about quality? What is the real value of the CTMs granted by OHIM? Did the IPKat ask national judges and officials in national IP offices who have to deal with infringement cases and oppositions based on CTMs every day? What is their view about the quality of the monopolies issued by OHIM?

    Safranek thinks that his CTM would be more valuable if there were less but better looking kitties around and does not believe that it is really in the interest of European business to have half a million marks occupied throughout Europe. The overwhelming amount of (weak) marks generates lot of conflicts both on the registers and on the market. Even OHIM admits that it can hardly cope with the high number of oppositions filed. Can’t they see the reason why?

    500,000 registered CTMs (and 110,000 more currently in the pipeline, proudly adds OHIM on its website). Things are moving in a direction which the European legislator precisely sought to avoid. Just have a look at the ninth recital of the Trade Marks Directive (2008/95/EC):

    “Whereas in order to reduce the total number of trade marks registered and protected in the Community and, consequently, the number of conflicts which arise between them, it is essential to require that registered trade marks must actually be used or, if not used, be subject to revocation.”

    Safranek admits that the primary legislative aim foreseen in the recital is to penalize non-use. Nevertheless, the aim not to overwhelm the market with too many trade marks is also clear.

    For those who are still fascinated about the magic number, it is worth noting that OHIM forgot to tell the world how many of these registered CTMs are under pending cancellation on absolute or relative grounds.

  2. @IPKat: The mark was known on day 1 of course (which was the 25th, btw), but I assume OHIM wanted to ensure that the mark owner agreed to be named.

    @Safranek: The 500,000 includes lapsed, registered but withdrawn and cancelled marks, since otherwise the database query would have been to complex and error-prone to be reproduced - as you may notice, our unit defined the criteria applied. And if you should wish to know how many cancellations we currently have ongoing, a simple ineed will give you that information. :-)


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