Levin Nyman - Deceptive renewal offers

Many EU trademark holders have been approached by a firm named Levin Nyman & Partners recently. This Finnish company offers renewals of EU trade marks at excessive prices. If signed off, payment is demanded; even if the client changes his mind. The Finnish company is not registered with any Chamber of Commerce; in fact, the company is not located at the office address stated on the letterhead. The phone number (masked by a QR code) is not in use.


So this reeks of a scam. Our advice: never react to any dubious offers. When in doubt: consult (and only pay) your authorized representative. As the registers are publicly accessible and there are ever more scammers, an additional piece of advice: report the plague to your government agencies for fraud prevention.


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?