Own-it | Intellectual Property Know-How for Creative Businesses

Trade mark court says yes to 'Dr No'

Trade mark court says yes to 'Dr No'

Published: 06.07.09 at 14:32

To the US first this week and news that music industry body the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has won a copyright action against Usenet.com for 'direct, contributory and vicarious infringement' by the newsgroup service. The case, which was kicked off in 2007, came about after RIAA discovered users of Usenet.com were using the service to swap copyright material, including music files. There's no word yet on the level of damages to be awarded against the website, which is based in North Dakota. Thanks to The Register for that story.

Also of interest is a recent judgment from the European Court of First Instance over the attempted registration of the mark 'Dr No' as a Europe-wide trade mark for bags, clothing, hats and drinks. The registration, by Mission Productions, was opposed by Danjaq, the company behind the James bond films franchise, on the grounds that it infringed their unregistered rights in 'Dr No', which, as all secret agents know is the name of the first Bond film. However, the opposition was rejected by the court on the grounds that 'Dr No' as used by Danjaq was a mark of cultural origin rather than commercial origin and so did qualify for protection. Out-law has more.

Birmingham City Council has applied to have the word 'Balti' protected as an indicator of geographical origin in the European Union. According to The Telegraph, the council claims that as the popular dish originated in Birmingham, it has the same right to protection as Parma ham and Champagne. If successful, only curries made in Birmingham's so-called 'Balti Triangle' would be permitted to use the term. Given that Balti is more a style of cooking than a specific product and the 'Balti Triangle' area is named after the dish (rather than the other way round) we have our doubts about whether this is a publicity stunt rather than a serious attempt to gain the designation. You can read more about the regime for protecting specific indicators of origin here.

More geographical IP fun next with news that the ECJ has upheld the rights of two brewers from Holland and Italy to use the term 'Bavaria' as a trade mark for their brews. The use of the marks had raised the ire of a confederation of Bavarian brewers, who complained the rival beers infringed their own indicator of geographic origin, 'Bayerisches Bier', which was recognised as such after the two 'Bavaria' trade marks were registered. However, the ECJ ruled that, as long as the prior 'Bavaria' marks were registered in good faith, they did not violate the regulation awarding protected status to Bayerisches Bier. The Guardian has more on that story.

Photo credit: MrGlen


Please note that this article provides general information only but is not to be regarded as legal advice. You must take advice from a specialist lawyer in relation to your specific circumstances. Further, you should seek additional legal advice when dealing with parties based in other parts of the world or works originating from other parts of the world as the legal position may vary.


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