Trademark news

Hakuna matata and colonialism

The Lion King is launched in 1994 by Disney. To prevent parasitic use, the company registers the film title and logo as a trademark. Also songs titles from the film score, like “Hakuna matata”, are trademarked (for T-shirts). With the upcoming relaunch of the film this year, Disney is suddenly involved in a riot. The petition website <change.com> demands cancellation of the 1994 mark (the petition was signed more than 180,000 times). The trademark means 'no problem' in Swahili language. By this trademark registration, Disney would claim ownership of a piece of African cultural heritage. The petition’s initiator sees this as insult and disrespect for the African population. » trademark-registration

Scent marks & non traditional trademarks

Earlier this year Hasbro was granted trademark protection for the smell of its Play-Doh clay by the US trademark office. The mark had been filed for: 'a scent of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones or cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough'. The product is made with this characteristic scent since 1956 and it is sometimes referred to in advertising too (campaign 2013: Stop and Smell the PLAY-DOH). Hasbro shows (with a great amount of evidence) that the fragrance has acquired distinctiveness and therefore is granted trademark protection. But would this also work in Europe? » trademark-registration

Fees for Filing and Renewal of Trademarks in the Benelux about to change!

Last month BOIP, the trademark office of the Benelux countries, announced that it will change the system of fees for filing trademarks from January 1st 2019. Until that date, the old filing fee system will remain in force, meaning that the price for a trademark filing is the same from one to three chosen classes, only charging additional fees from the fourth class up. This also will apply to trademark renewals from the same date. From Jan 1st onward however, a base filing fee will be charged for one class filing and additional fees per added class. This results in higher costs for business owners seeking trademark protection or with trademarks that need to be renewed. That is why we advise our clients to file new applications if possible before 31 December of this year (unless protection in only one class is required), and to renew their current registrations (due for renewal untill 30 June 2019), thus saving serious money on renewal costs. » trademark-registration

New cancellation procedures to attack Benelux trademarks

A registered trademark has to be used within five years. If not, the expiration of this trademark can be invoked. Until recently, this could only be done through an (expensive) court procedure. Since June 1st 2018 there is an alternative way to achieve this. From that day onward, any interested party can initiate administrative proceedings with the Benelux trademark authorities to invoke the lapse of a Benelux trademark that is not used (or to request the nullity of a descriptive trademark). The costs for this are fairly small. » trademark-registration

Colour trademark Red Bull invalid

Colours can be trademarks. For many, the colour combination of blue and silver, is sufficient to recognize the Red Bull energy drink. In order to protect this colour combination, Red Bull has filed two trademarks, consisting of a survey with the two colours, accompanied with a description. The question here is, if these filing are sufficiently clear to meet the legal requirements. » trademark-registration
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PURE - MENTOS

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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