Brexit – an important summer update for trademarks and designs

Brexit – a summer update for all EU trademark and Community design holders

For many companies the upcoming (or actually already happened) Brexit has been overshadowed by the corona-crisis that has gripped the whole world. However, many companies need to take action at this moment to be in time before all Brexit measures come into effect.

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No infringement “The Crossbox” on CrossFit brand

No infringement “The Crossbox” on CrossFit brand

In the proceedings between the Dutch association Vereniging Exclusieve Sportcentra (VES) and Crossfit Inc. the Court in The Hague ruled that the Crossfit brand has little distinctive character and that the use of the “The Crossbox” brand does not infringe these trademark rights.

First of all, the Court rules that CrossFit cannot invoke the protection of a “well-known brand”. Well-known brands benefit from a wider protection than ‘normal’ or unknown brands. The trademark CrossFit therefore only has a standard scope of protection. The question then is whether the brand “The CrossBox” would create a likelihood of confusion with the CrossFit brand. The court finds that as the element ‘cross’ is derived from cross-training and ‘fit’ refers to fitness, the brand has only a modest distinctive character. The scope of protection in this case is therefore limited.

The court further rules that the only similar element is ‘cross’, while the more distinctive part ‘Box’ only occurs at The CrossBox, so that there is little similarity between the brands. The element ‘box’ also has an distinctive character because the word ‘the’ is used in the trademark. All in all, the court rules that there is no risk of confusion between The CrossBox and the CrossFit brand.

A nice victory for the Dutch VES against the big American party CrossFit. This means that all gyms affiliated with VES are free to continue offering their The CrossBox classes!


Trademark registrations in bad faith – what to do?

International distribution

Many companies are trading internationally and cooperate with several national distributors for the distribution of their products. Needless to say, it is important to have all agreements with distributors recorded in writing. A well formulated distribution agreement will not only prevent discussions about for example financial agreements and delivery of products, but can also prevent discussions about trademark registrations, if such agreement includes agreements regarding the use of intellectual property rights, like trademarks.

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Five tips & tricks for trademark registrations

Blog : Handelsnaam | Intellectueel Eigendom Advocaten
  1. Choose how you wish to register your trademark.

Different types of trademark are available for registration. You can register a word, a logo, a shape, a combination of these items and in some countries you can even register a sound. All these types of registration come with their own scope of protection. If the trademark you wish to register is a fantasyword, then a registration of a wordmark is your best option in most cases, but if your logo is very distinctive you may wish to register a figurative mark.

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Brexit: What happens with your EU Trademarks and Designs?

As Brexit is approaching, more and more companies are starting to think about the impact on their IP registrations. The original date for Brexit is 29 March 2019 which is getting very close, but it is now likely that Brexit will be postponed for some weeks or months. What the exact consequences are for European trademark or design registrations is still not certain, as we still don’t know what the deal (if any) between the UK and the EU will contain.

IP rights holders should however prepare for Brexit and adjust registration strategies or – for UK trademark or design owners – find a representative within the European Union. We currently expect the following consequences for both EU trademark and design registrations. Continue reading