Where the marks differ in only a single additional letter at the end of one of the marks, can the resulting similarity be “neutralized” by the conceptual differences? The German Federal Patent Court decided on 19 June 2017 that the opposing mark “Combit” and the attacked mark  were overall dissimilar and that, even if there…

Germany is a key venue for international trade fairs. So it is no surprise that trade fairs are tempting targets for counterfeiters and infringers. Right owners must rely on quick and effective relief if they want to avoid an impairment of their rights. However, they should be aware of the peculiarities of German law in…

The Cologne Higher Regional Court was asked to decide on an alleged infringement of German unfair competition law by the look of a trade dress of tea drinks bottles. In summary, the court rejected the claim since the bottles of the parties showed different product and manufacturer names (judgment of 28 April 2017, Case 6…

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…

Two months ago I reported about the Draft of a new Trademark Act (Markenrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz) which was supposed to enter into force before the election for the next German Bundestag. Some of the relevant German associations commented in detail on the draft and proposed some well-grounded changes – i.e. the Markenverband, the GRUR, and the Bundesverband Deutscher…

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. World of Warcraft takes place within the fantasy Warcraft world of Azeroth. Alone or together with others the player has to solve quests in order to level up and have more possibilities. Since some of these quests…

Following a request for cancellation, the Federal Patent Court decided to cancel a shape mark for sweets arguing that it exclusively consisted of a shape necessary to obtain a technical result (Decision of the Federal Patent Court of 27 December 2016 on Case 25 W (pat) 59/14). The cancellation request was directed against the German…

On 3. February 2017 the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection presented a draft of an act to implement Directive (EU) 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and of the Council to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks (Gesetz zur Umsetzung der Richtlinie (EU) 2015/2436 des Europäischen Parlaments und des…

A recent decision of the Federal Patent Court in Germany (Decision of 1 March 2016 on Case 29 W (pat) 33/13) shows that the unitary character of an EU trademark (EUTM) does not necessarily mean that it enjoys the same level of protection in all EU member states. In opposition proceedings in Germany, the Federal…

In one of its latest decisions (I ZR 50/14 of November 5, 2015 – ConText) the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice)  has ruled that the forfeiture of a claim requesting injunction relief due to an infringement of a company name by another company name has to be determined according to the general principles of forfeiture…