Dracula; scope of normal use

A trademark registration is a powerful tool to prevent another company from introducing a product with a similar name. This is, however, not always the case. In most of the European Union if a trademark is older than five years it is subject to use. The trademark authorities will judge whether the use of the trademark constitutes normal use in commerce, for the type of good it has been used for.

Dracula was registered as a trademark in 1995 in Romania for liquor. The proprietor of this trademark objects against a European application for Dracula Bite, filed by a competitor. Because Dracula is a trademark older than five years the owner must proof that the trademark is in use. Only six invoices were provided as proof, corresponding with a sale of just 2,500 bottles in the past five years. Much too little for an area as large as Romania, where a lot of vodka is consumed. The competitor is allowed to register Dracula Bite.


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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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