ECTA ®ETREAT Follow-up
Also this year's ECTA ®ETREAT Workshop on "Trade Marks: Case Law of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal and German Courts Trademark" was successfully organized by Müller Schupfner & Partner. It took place at the German Patent and Trademark Office on 06 March 2019. Despite Ash Wednesday and Bavarian carnival holidays, around 160 participants took part in the event with two top-class lectures. The event was rounded off by a reception sponsored by Müller Schupfner & Partner.
The welcoming speach was given by Ms. Barbara Preißner, Head of the Trade Marks and Designs Department of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA). She gave a brief overview of the implementation of the Trademark Law Directive (EU) 2015/2436 in Germany and the associated major tasks for the DPMA. Afterwards, the President of ECTA (European Communities Trade Mark Association), Mr. Sozos-Christos Theodoulou, welcomed all those present.
The workshop was again moderated by Ms Marie-Christine Seiler, Junior Partner at Müller Schupfner & Partner and Secretary of the ECTA Harmonization Committee.
Mr. Christoph Bartos, member of the Boards of Appeal of the EUIPO, gave a very informative, interactive and entertaining presentation on the latest case law of the EUIPO Boards of Appeal, in particular on trade mark registration and opposition decisions. This provoked a lively discussion among the audience. Cases in which trade marks were refused due to their descriptive character in non-EU languages, such as Japanese or Russian, may be highlighted. The decisions on the registrability of combination marks with individual descriptive elements triggered mixed opinions in the audience. There was, however, a large degree of agreement on the rejection of new forms of trade marks, such as movement marks and sound marks, on the grounds of lack of distinctive character or of colour trade mark applications on the grounds of imprecise descriptions of the form of the trade marks.
Mr. Lars Meinhardt, judge at the Higher Regional Court of Munich and member of its Trademark and Competition Senate, was again the second keynote speaker to report on highly topical issues in German trademark infringement proceedings. The focus was on the one hand on the question of trademark exhaustion in the repackaging of goods, especially pharmaceuticals, and on the distribution of luxury goods outside a selective distribution system. On the other hand, on the basis of current cases decided by courts, he discussed the requirements for trademark use according to previous and new law according to the (continuing?) principles of the Céline jurisprudence, in contrast to the purely corporate use of company trademarks.
The participants participated actively in the subsequent discussion and the organizers were pleased with the positive feedback.