As we continue to adjust to new restrictions introduced by the government as a result of the pandemic, the world of trade marks has been business as usual.  In this blog, we discuss a recent decision relating to a high profile trade mark proprietor, Lionel Messi, who is widely regarded as one of the best footballers in the world.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently dismissed appeals brought by the EUIPO and a Spanish company against the judgment of the General Court authorising Lionel Messi to register the trade mark ‘MESSi’ for sports equipment and clothing. The CJEU held that there is no likelihood of confusion between the word mark MASSI and a figurative sign containing the word MESSi.


Continue Reading No likelihood of confusion between MASSI and MESSi

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has made an important ruling for brand owners, online marketplaces and retailers alike, in finding that Amazon is not liable for unwittingly stocking trade mark infringing goods on behalf of third party sellers.

Continue Reading E-commerce operators not liable for trade mark infringement for mere storage of infringing goods

In a recent case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considered whether a functional shape is precluded from copyright protection. The case was referred from the Commercial Court of Liège (Belgium) (C-833/18).

Background

The original case before the Commercial Court of Liège concerned a claim for copyright infringement brought by an English company, Brompton Bicycle Ltd (Brompton). Since 1987, Brompton has marketed and sold folding bicycles. The Brompton Bicycle, which was protected by a patent until 1999, has the distinct feature of having three different positions: (i) a folded position; (ii) an unfolded position; and (iii) a stand-by position enabling it to stay balanced on the ground.

When a South Korean company, Get2Get, started marketing a bicycle that could also be folded into the same three positions as the Brompton Bicycle, Brompton brought a claim for copyright infringement. In its defence, Get2Get claimed that the shape of the Brompton Bicycle could not be protected by copyright law because its appearance is dictated by the technical solution sought, which is to ensure that the bicycle can be folded into three different positions.


Continue Reading Is a functional shape precluded from copyright protection?

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The provisions of the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019 (the Act), which was signed into law on 26 June 2019, were commenced on 2 December 2019.

The only provisions which are not yet in effect are sections 2(1), 9 and 21, which will automatically come into operation on 26 December (i.e. 6 months from the passing of the Act on 26 June 2019).


Continue Reading Commencement of the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019

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For the first time, the Irish High Court has been asked to make a blocking order in regard to the illegal live streaming of Premier League games. Instead of watching Premier League games through legitimate and licensed services, some people were seeking to do so free of charge. The Court granted the blocking order, requiring five Irish ISPs (including  Eir,  Sky Ireland Ltd, Sky Subscribers Services Ltd, Virgin Media Ireland Ltd  and Vodafone Ireland Ltd ) to block illegal live streaming of Premier League games.

Continue Reading High Court blocks illegal live streaming of Premier League Games

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On 29 July 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held​ that Red Bull’s signature blue and silver colour trademarks were invalid. This followed an earlier decision by the General Court of the European Union in 2017 which found that the graphic representation and description of the two colours were not sufficiently precise.

The threshold for successfully registering a trademark consisting of a single colour or combination of colours has been set purposefully high, in order to avoid situations where a large company is able to effectively monopolise a particular colour within a particular class of goods or services. A company seeking to register a colour trademark must demonstrate that their mark has acquired distinctiveness, and be able to describe it in a sufficiently clear and precise manner.


Continue Reading European Court declares Red Bull’s colour trademarks invalid

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The Government has published its Legislation Programme for Spring 2019. Preparing for Brexit is the central feature of the Spring Legislation Programme (which covers the period January-March 2019). The Brexit omnibus bill, the Miscellaneous Provisions (Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019) Bill, is the primary item in the Spring Programme.

The Brexit omnibus bill comprises vital legislation across 17 elements that will need to be enacted prior to Brexit in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Part 17 of the proposed Bill will provide for amendments to the Data Protection Act 2018. While the possibility of introducing a number of Brexit-related bills was considered, the Government believes that a single, standalone bill, that contains a number of parts, is the most efficient and effective way of preparing for Brexit. In addition, the Government has stated that many of the provisions will be provided for through statutory instruments that will be ready for signing should they be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

While Brexit is the priority, the Government has indicated that work is continuing on other legislation across all Government departments and a number of bills that are at an advanced stage will be introduced in the coming weeks, and progressed alongside those currently on the Dáil Order Paper.


Continue Reading Government publishes Legislation Programme for Spring 2019

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The new Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation (CPC) was passed on 14 November 2017, with the goal of providing enforcement authorities with additional powers to combat unlawful online practices. The CPC will also help harmonise consumer protection law across the EU. While the CPC is sure to aid compliance, it remains to be seen how far-reaching some of the powers will become, in particular, the website-blocking power referred to below.

Continue Reading Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation introduced to combat unlawful online practices

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On 26 July 2017 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered its Opinion that the draft Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement between the EU and Canada is not compatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter) and may not be concluded in its current form. The Opinion follows a referral by the European Parliament to the CJEU and is the first time the Court has been requested to examine the compatibility of an international agreement with the EU Charter.

Continue Reading EU-Canada Passenger Name Records Agreement declared incompatible with EU Fundamental Rights

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The European Council has finalised its position on the directive setting out new rules relating to the supply of digital content and digital services, acknowledging it as a priority for the Digital Single Market. The makings of the proposed directive were initially presented by the European Commission in late 2015 as part of the move towards a connected digital single market.  On 8 June 2017, the European Council adopted its position on the scope of the proposed directive, the remedies for lack of supply and non-conformity, supplier liability and burden of proof restrictions.

Continue Reading Digital Single Market- Digital Content