With decision of 25th February 2019, the German Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht) has ruled on the registrability of a celebrity name for inter alia publications in class 16. The Bundespatentgericht is the appeals court for decisions of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA). Franziska van Almsick, one of the most successful swimmers of recent…

This case is about the genuine use of shape marks. M J Quinlan & Associates PTY Ltd. of Australia own a 1999 registration for the shape of a kangaroo. The mark is protected for potato snacks and potato crisps. The plaintiff owns or owned a patent and design rights to the kangaroo-shaped crisps which were…

In a judgement of April 2018, the Regional Court of Hamburg has ruled on the use of original advertising material by non-authorized dealers and on how trademark law can bypass copyright law (308 O 231/16). The plaintiff manufactures saddle bags and other high quality cycling accessories. The defendant is an online retailer with numerous online…

This post is the sequel to the post ‘Trademarks in Transactions – Part I: Due Diligence’ which dealt with trademark issues which regularly arise during the due diligence phase of an M&A transaction. Once the due diligence phase is over, and often already during the due diligence phase, the parties of an M&A transaction will…

On 6th December 2017, the ECJ issued its judgement in the matter Coty / Akzente. The judgement is essentially about three questions: 1)         Does the luxurious nature of products or trademarks justify a selective distribution system or did the Pierre Fabre judgement of 2011 put an end to that justification? 2)         Does a selective distribution…

Trademark questions pop up in practically every M&A transaction. Many of these questions are straightforward, some require specialist knowledge. Specialists like to demonstrate as much of their knowledge as possible, and even IP lawyers are not always immune to this. But M&A transactions are not the place for such demonstrations. Disproportionate attention to negligible detail,…

On June 14, 2017, the Commission opened investigations against Nike, Universal Studios and Sanrio (“Hello Kitty”) for their distribution and licensing practices. The Commission suspects that the companies are containing online and cross-border sales by their dealers and licensees and thereby violate EU Competition law. These are probably the most prominent investigations into the distribution…

This important decision by the German Federal Supreme Court of 15 January 2017 is about how the protection against copying under unfair competition law interplays with trademark and patent law: The plaintiff manufactures and sells anchor bolts which are used to mount traffic signs: The defendant offers the following bolts: Until 2006, the plaintiff’s bolt…

3-D Mark litigation is like life itself – you never know what you’re going to get. And for that reason, it’s all the more enjoyable when a 3-D registration prevails over a knock-off. A notorious trader of perfume imitations was marketing the following perfume bottle – apparently feeling safe about the plaintiff’s product shape, registered…

Lionsgate and Dirty Dancing Lionsgate Entertainment Inc. owns the rights to the film Dirty Dancing, released in 1987. The film is iconic for its dance scenes and its message of love conquering everything. It has earned hundreds of millions from box office and DVD sales. Lionsgate and their licensees have released many other works, products…