Jaguar implicated in ECJ mystery

Another mystery intellectual property case has caught the IPKat's attention: it's Case C-238/09, Handelsmaatschappij J. van Hilst and Others v The Jaguar Collection Limited and Others, a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling. The reference was made by the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (the Dutch Supreme Court) on 1 July 2009 but sadly for all IP enthusiasts,
"By order of 20 July 2009 the case was removed from the Register of the Court of Justice".
Assuming that it wasn't removed simply because the language of the case was Dutch, there must have been more to it - but what? The IPKat is fond of Jaguars, since they are beautiful cats with lovely coats, but he's never heard of anyone collecting them. And what's the IP issue? Was some mean-minded soul trying to register the pattern of the Jaguar's coat as a design? Or was this a cunningly-disguised attempt to register the big cat as a three-dimensional trade mark?

Off went the Kat to find some background -- but he didn't find much to guide him. There's this item on the Dutch Boek 9 blog, but the IPKat's Dutch isn't very good, and a Google News search of the parties' names drew a blank. Can anyone help, please?

Jaguar implicated in ECJ mystery Jaguar implicated in ECJ mystery Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, December 10, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. The Jaguar Collection Ltd appears to be a subsidiary of the car company, presumably manufacturing tie-in goods of some kind.

  2. The referral dates from 1 July 2009, while already on 3 July 2009 the NL Supreme Court withdrew the request. I take it that the reason for the withdrawal was that the referral was made by mistake: in its decision ( the NL Supreme Court meant to ask questions to the Benelux Court of Justice on the Benelux Trademark Law, not to the ECJ on EU trademark law.

  3. Jeremy,
    Constant van Nispen and myself deal with this (complicated) TM case before the Dutch Supreme Court. This court referred questions to the Benelux Court of Justice (on how to interpret a famous trademark under art 6bis Paris Convention, before the TRIPs treaty came into force). This shouldn't have ended up with the ECJ in the first place. Probably a mistake of a clerk at the Supreme Court.
    Tobias Cohen Jehoram

  4. As usual Jaguar Collection tried to invalidate a mark registration in Holland by van Hilst for “Jaguar Shoes for Men” (I recall they have previously tried, and failed, in regard to Jaguar watches). They claimed that name similarity confused people and that therefore the mark registered in 1984 was in bad faith and therefore sort an annulment of that mark. A initial request for a preliminary ruling (on interpretation of Article 4?) has now been withdrawn. Jaguar then lost the initial case, but on appeal it seems that the Judge has allowed them to oppose the use of ‘Jaguar’ and the Jaguar cat in advertising for Jaguar shoes for men!

    Copying and pasting the text into an internet translator gives the jist – even if the English is a bit difficult!


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