What is real
is not external form.”
Some trademarks are protected by their own fame
Do you know that kind of trademark which is practically protected by its fame? Generally speaking, for a trademark to benefit from protection it has to be registered (for example, in Switzerland marks are registered with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property). Like any rule, this also has an exception: the notorious trademarks, protected under Article 6bis of the Paris Convention (only if they own a foreign trademark registration) even if they are not registered.
We have recently won an opposition for one of our Swiss Clients regarding the infringement of their most well-known trademarks.
More specific, our Client is active in the luxury industry and his competitors were to launch a food product under exactly the same trademark as his. Even if we are not talking about the same industry, we could not rise a coexistence agreement because our Client’s trademark is very well-known and the risk of confusion would be very high in this case.
It is all about brand awareness and gaining reputation due to a high degree of use, whether the marks are registered or not. Starting from the idea that those who make substantial investments in the popularization of a brand deserve special protection, in most countries well known marks enjoy this kind of care against the marks which are considered a reproduction, a limitation or a translation of the well-known marks.
The well-known marks are not clearly defined
The fact that there is no clear and commonly agreed detailed definition for the well-known marks (with no characteristics other than being easily recognized) could lead to many interpretations and ways of protection. In general, public opinion polling is considered to be the main factor in appreciating the notoriety of a trademark. These trademarks can also be protected in other ways: by the Federal Law against Unfair Competition 1989, as moral rights to a name, as geographical indications and by copyright law.
Situations can vary. We have already expressed our opinion in other materials on how we proceed when the trademark our customer wishes to register is already in use on the market. But what happens when the customer is the one that owns the trademark that a competitor wishes to register for the marketed products? The ( learn more )
We are currently dealing with a really interesting case where our client, a top company in the field of food supplements, owned by an investment fund from UK, is in the position of not being able to market products on the Bulgarian market due to a local firm which so far has not been interested ( learn more )
As of July 2018, we are handling a case regarding the banking industry. Our client is a private equity US firm which has completed the acquisition of a subsidiary bank from a giant group in this field. They intend to rebrand the business and step by step to reach the objective to strengthen the Eastern ( learn more )