Well-known trademarks have a broader protection against third parties that seek to take advantage of their reputation. How far does the protection reach?For many years, Apple has been one of the most valuable trademarks in the world. The brand is known for more the 35 years, as innovative and has a formidable reputation. The Apple logo is a distinctive sign that appears everywhere (for example on the iPhone and iPad). When Pear Technologies from China files for protection for a stylized pear to distinguish ICT software products, Apple files a complaint. »10
VIAGRA is one of Pfizer’s main trademarks. Since its introduction in 1998, the product is a great success with a yearly revenue of little over a billion Euros. The product is available on medical prescription.
However, success has its downside, when third parties try to take a piece of the pie as well. Discussing erection problems with a doctor might be a bit of an embarrassment for many men, which is probably the reason for a flourishing online trade of the product. Research reveals that 60% of the amount of pills sold, is being obtained via illegal trade. »10
Trademarks may not be confusingly similar. The trademarks are being compared in order to decide if this is the case. The judge compares the trademarks visually, phonetically and conceptually. However, is one of these criteria sufficient to obstruct another trademark. This is the central question in the ‘Witte Wieven’ cheese case. »10
Not every trademark is automatically accepted by the authorities. As everybody knows, a trademark should be sufficiently distinctive, in order to be admitted. But there are other criteria as well. For example, a trademark may not be conflictive with the public order and morals. In the Benelux trademarks are hardly ever refused on this ground. However, this might be different in other countries and cultures. »trademark-registration
An idea itself cannot be protected, only its implementation can. The shape of a product can be protected by copyrights or design rights. If these rights are not available, in the Netherlands one can rely on the regime of unfair competition to protect the shapes of its products. Especially in the case of counterfeiting this ground has been invoked on a regular base. However, what if a third party, by coincidence, develops the same idea independently? »copyright
MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE.
Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark.
Infringement or not?