Sustainability claims in advertisement

More and more people are concerned about what the world will look like in the future. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for consumers and influences their purchasing behaviour, choosing particular brands that claim to be sustainable. Consumers must be able to rely on these claims. Companies that make efforts to promote sustainability, must be protected against companies that unfairly use misleading sustainability claims. This gave the ACM (Authority Consumer & Market) reason to investigate misleading claims in the clothing industry.


Decathlon and H&M promote clothing items using terms such as 'ecodesign' and 'conscious', without clearly indicating the sustainable benefit. When the ACM addresses the companies on this matter, they immediately promise improvement. The information on the websites was altered and a donation of 500,000 euros has been made to various causes aimed at improving sustainability.

Within the field of intellectual property, we should also think more about sustainability. For example, when there is a situation of infringement (e.g. parallel imports), we often demand immediate destruction of the infringing goods. Which is of course anything but sustainable. Possible alternatives include the dismantling of products, so that the materials can be recycled or donated to charity. It's time for us take a different approach.


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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?