HART – the importance of trademark research

Last summer, Museum Hermitage Amsterdam announced its name change. The museum no longer wanted to be associated with Russia. The new name HART however, did not go down well with the Belgian art magazine HART. In 2006, the company had established the logo for printing, advertising, cultural activities and magazine publishing.


The Hermitage argued that the two trademarks could coexist perfectly well, since each of the companies are active in the visual arts in their own different ways.

Nevertheless, the case was settled just before the summary proceedings. The Belgian art magazine will continue under the new name GLEAN. Nothing may be disclosed about the agreement, but let it be clear: the Belgian party was probably paid particularly handsomely given their strong position. Not only are the characters very similar, the goods and services are similar.

The Hermitage has also taken over the rights to the older trademark. Smart, considering the many other registered HART marks in Class 41. A lesson for everyone though: avoid problems like this and conduct trademark research before launching a new trademark.


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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?