Europe: “genuine use” of trade marks
Recently European Court of Justice clarified some legislation connected to trademarks.
First as the court has concluded that one of conditions - ‘genuine use’, may be fulfilled where a Community figurative mark is used only in conjunction with a Community word mark which is superimposed over it, and the combination of those two marks is, furthermore, itself registered as a Community trade mark, to the extent that the differences between the form in which that trade mark is used and that in which it was registered do not change the distinctive character of that trade mark as registered.
Also as recent cases in Lithuanian High Court emphasizes the importance of the „genuine use”, and cited a case from European Court of Justice, stating “genuine use” of a trade mark where the mark is used in accordance with its essential function, which is to guarantee the identity of the origin of the goods or services for which it is registered, in order to create or preserve an outlet for those goods or services; genuine use does not include token use for the sole purpose of preserving the rights conferred by the mark. When assessing whether use of the trade mark is genuine, regard must be had to all the facts and circumstances relevant to establishing whether the commercial exploitation of the mark in the course of trade is real, particularly whether such use is viewed as warranted in the economic sector concerned to maintain or create a share in the market for the goods or services protected by the mark, the nature of those goods or services, the characteristics of the market and the scale and frequency of use of the mark. The characteristics of those goods and services, the frequency or regularity of the use of the trade mark, whether the mark is used for the purpose of marketing all the identical goods or services of the proprietor or merely some of them, or evidence of use which the proprietor is able to provide, are among the factors which may be taken into account. It follows that it is not possible to determine a priori, and in the abstract, what quantitative threshold should be chosen in order to determine whether use is genuine or not. Thus, when it serves a real commercial purpose, even minimal use of the trade mark can be sufficient to establish genuine use.
For more information, please contact the Gencs Valters law firm.