May 29, 2015

European Court rules on trademark dispute

Last month, the European General Court ruled that two Community Trade Marks had been invalidly registered due to a lack of distinctive character.

The decision to cancel the trademarks comes following a challenge by the German retailer Nanu-Nana. The court’s decision is a bitter defeat for LV – a French firm that is a favourite of several celebrities.

The case related to a brown and beige chequerboard pattern and a light and dark grey design, which had been registered for use on various goods.

The court held that a key factor was that the marks coincided with the appearance of the products as the pattern covered some or all of the surface.

The presentation of a chequerboard in the alternating colours of brown and beige (or light and dark grey), and the impression of interlacing threads did not contain any notable variation in relation to the conventional presentation of the goods so that the relevant public would perceive only a commonplace and everyday pattern.

Rather more surprising is that LV failed in its argument that the two chequerboard patterns had become distinctive of LV through use.

It is widely expected that LV will appeal against the decision.

At Royds, our experts can provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of intellectual property law affecting business – we have particular expertise in the jewellery and luxury goods market. For more information please visit our website or contact Stephen Welfare or John North.

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