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Coke means Coca-Cola*

On 10 May 2010, Modern Industrial & Trading Investment Co. Ltd (“Mitico”) filed a CTM application for the food and drink classes, 29, 30 and 32, which included “cola flavoured aerated waters”.Cola1

On 14 October, Coca-Cola Company (“Coca Cola”) filed an opposition against the application based on four of its earlier figurative CTMs; (more…)

London Tech Week 2014 – Top trade mark issues

LTW14-Logo-slideFurther to our post on patent related issues that were raised in our London Tech Week IP seminars and workshops, here is the trade marks instalment based on the common themes that surfaced in our discussions involving trade marks. (more…)

Trade Mark Review: Snickers versus Kickers

snickersIn the case of Hultafors Group AB (Hultafors) V OHIM (Case T-537/11, April 19 2013), the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal was upheld by the General Court confirming that there was a likelihood of confusion between a figurative Community trademark application incorporating the word ‘SNICKERS’ and an earlier Italian registration for the word mark ‘KICKERS’ in Class 25. Both marks covered goods including ‘clothing, footwear and headgear’. (more…)

Power in Numbers – Trade Mark Squatters in China

Great WallTrade Mark squatting is big business in China and is becoming more and more common. The new target appears to be up and coming European brands. It would appear that as soon as a mark becomes the slightest bit known in the UK, throughout Europe or the US, the marks are being filed as trade mark applications in China by opportunistic third parties known as trade mark squatters.

It would also seem that these third parties are not just trying to reap the rewards of just one trade mark either. It is becoming more common for trade mark squatters (which are now large ‘squatting’ companies) to file hundreds of well-known or well-publicised up and coming brands belonging to foreign owners.


Falling out over sweets?

hariboHaribo v Lindt – Gold Bear vs Gold Foiled Teddy

On 18 December 2012, the Regional Court of Cologne decided that Swiss Confectioner Lindt’s gold foiled teddy amounted to a visual representation of German sweet maker Haribo’s famous Gold Bear.

The court held that the visual similarities would cause connotations with Haribo’s bears and upheld Haribo’s claim against the distribution of Lindt’s bears in Germany.

In the case, Haribo argued that its bears and its word trade mark for ‘Goldbär’ (German for gold bear) was known to 95% of the relevant German consumer. Lindt argued that the gold foil and red ribbon followed the form used on its chocolate bunnies and invited the court to find that the competing products did not look similar and that consumers would not be confused.

However, the courts agreed with Haribo’s view and said that consumers would refer to Lindt’s bear as the ‘gold bear’ due to its visual appearance. They held that this would result in a dilution of Haribo’s rights.

The courts have allowed an appeal on the basis that there has so far been no ruling by the German Federal Supreme Court on the question of a conflict between a word mark and a three-dimensional product design.

Lindt have appealed the decision to a higher court and a decision is expected soon.

Azhar Sadique     8 February 2013

Disappearing Brands – but what becomes of the trade marks?

WHMV has become the latest high street victim to collapse into administration after 92 years on UK high streets. More than 4000 jobs and 236 stores are at risk unless a suitable buyer can be found by administrators. This news comes just days after camera retailer Jessops announced that it was unable to continue trading. As a result, all of its 187 stores were closed down. The company stated in 1937 when Frank Jessop opened his first shop in Leicester. Both HMV and the Jessops trade marks have been well known to the public following many years of use …. but what will become of the names now and can the trade marks be saved by anyone?


That’s not mine! – Action checklist for marks registered by third parties in China.

Great WallIf your brand has been registered in China without your authorisation or before you have even considered trade mark protection there, it can be very difficult to win the rights back, particularly if your mark has no current presence in the Chinese market.

We have put together a check list of the action that you would need to consider if you are in this difficult position.