Trademarks in holding, curator left empty handed in bankruptcy - register intellectual property rights in holding not in the actual working company.

In 2013 over 13,800 companies went bankrupt. In case of a bankruptcy, however, a company’s goodwill does not disappear. That is why a curator will always explore possibilities of a restart. Why registering intellectual property rights (as trademarks) in the holding in stead of the actual working company?

Since 2004 a national competition has been organized under the name ‘The Clash of the Cover Bands’. At the conception of the idea the “inventor” of the show registered the trademark on his own name. A foundation has been organizing the completion since 2011. This foundation filed for bankruptcy in June of 2013. A battle over the trademark rights emerges. The trademarks are still in the name of the original owner, the curator, however, claims that the trademarks have been transferred in 2011, since that is the year the foundation took over the activities.

The court does not agree. The foundation organized the competition, but that does not make it the owner of the trademarks. Trademarks can only be transferred in writing, and this has not happened. Since the foundation has no trademark rights, the curator could also not transfer them to a third party for a restart. Sale by the original owner is valid. This case clearly illustrates that it is advisable to register intellectual property rights (such as trademarks and designs) in the name of a holding, and not the actual working company. In case of a bankruptcy of the working company the goodwill is secured.


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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?
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