The Swiss Federal Tribunal has ruled that the shape of the Nespresso capsules is technically necessary and that Nestlé’s 3D trademark shall therefore be cancelled (decision 4A_61/2021 of 7 September 2021). The decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal is a milestone in the trademark infringement proceedings initiated by Nestlé against Ethical Coffee Company (“ECC”), which…

Can coffee be hell? Of course, bad coffee, we knew that. On the other hand, the General Court (GC) has recently confirmed that the sign “HELL” can be protected for coffee-related products as an EU trademark (Hell Energy v EUIPO, T-323/20, available in French and, for the adventurous ones, in Hungarian). The applicant, Hell Energy…

Can the name of a historical, well known place be registered as a trademark? If we think about the NEUSCHWANSTEIN case (C-488/16), the answer is: yes, it can be registered, provided there is no connection between the designated goods/services  and the famous place. But what about the “allure” associated with a well-known site? Should anyone…

Following the inspirational blogs by Agnieszka Sztoldman and Katharina Schmid’s on slogans here and here, I would like to share some fairly recent decisions from Norway. They show that there is “hope in a hanging snore” for the protection of promotional slogans in Norway. It begins with the outdoor apparel slogan NEVER STOP EXPLORING. The…

Inspired by my co-blogger Agnieszka Sztoldman’s August post on Teva’s headache over slogan (EU) trade marks, and the mood-lifting granting of protection to the slogan “STIMMUNG HOCH ZWEI” in Austria (see details below), this is to provide an overview on the protection of slogans and taglines in recent Austrian case law. As any other trademarks,…

We know that save in “exceptional” cases, colours do not initially have a distinctive character, although they may be capable of acquiring such character as the result of the use made of them.  But what if the colour is unusual with regard to the products it designates –  does this help to be included in…

The Austrian courts recently had the opportunity to provide some clarifications as to when a geographical indication, which is not protected as such under EU legislation, may be registered as a trademark, relying on the principles established more than 20 years ago in the “Chiemsee” preliminary rulings of the Court of Justice of the EU…

The question of how far descriptive or non-distinctive trademarks which somehow managed to be registered may be enforced is of particular relevance in jurisdictions like Germany which acknowledge their incontestability ten years after registration. The more recent approach of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) was that it accepted likelihood of confusion also in a…

Yet another trademark dispute has been taken to court by APPLE. This time, APPLE lodged a trademark opposition against the letter „j“ trademark of an Italian incorporation by the name „Steve Jobs“ in front of the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (FAC) (B-1176/2017 (FAC)). After APPLE had failed to cancel the opposed trademark before the Institute…