You have trade marks in various countries of the European Union in your brand portfolio. And you would like to maintain the protection of these trade marks at low cost? A ruling of the European Union Court of Justice now provides the basis for all these options.
Trade marks are often re-filed. The new brand maintains trade mark protection without the obligation to prove use of it for a period of five years. The General Court of the European Union has now thrown this practice of re-filing into doubt in some circumstances.
A caterer had the idea of registering ‘grill meister’ [‘grill master’] as a brand for his barbecue and beer products, as well as for his catering. He gave his brand a simple design and as a special feature the registered trademark symbol ®. However, the caterer was very surprised when the Federal Court of Justice certified his trade mark as not only being unable to be protected, but also deceptive.
The typical Wenger cross emblem that appears on the luggage of Wenger S.A. is very similar to the Swiss cross. However, Wenger’s luggage was manufactured in China rather than Switzerland. Did the Wenger cross unlawfully mislead German consumers as to the location of production?
You’ve spotted a new sales opportunity for your company. However, in Germany trade mark rights pose an obstacle and so you approach your lawyer for advice on your intended solution. Does this course of action relieve you of your legal obligations, meaning that you can avoid prosecution for trade mark infringement? It is not that simple.
Are products bearing your brand being sold on the market without your knowledge as to their origin? Consider whether there might be criminal liability for the unauthorised import of branded goods; if unsure, seek specialist advice.
Do not jeopardise your brand by using it incorrectly on the packaging.
After a user enters a trade mark into Google’s search engine, they are directed to a results list containing, among other things, an online marketplace on which third parties sell competing products. Does this programming of the online marketplace infringe the trade mark?
You might consider using Google Ads for your Internet shop. But a project such as this needs to be thought through carefully.
Your trade marks should not, if possible, share similarities with earlier signs. The Court of Justice of the European Union now has set a high benchmark in this regard. They must be strictly observed, otherwise your trade marks may be in great danger and you may inadvertently become an infringer who will be obliged to pay damages.