Issue 4, 15th January 1996: Trademark
ExNet On-line: Law


European links, law, and lawyers---on and off the Net

By Sonya Clarke.

Topical, Search Tools, Journals, Bodies, Back Issues, Other.

[Computing, Law, Science and Technology, SciFi, Sport, The Unexplained, UP]


An employment law service, Employment Law Link is now available on CD-ROM, produced by Tolley Publishing and Income Data Service. It includes case summaries and commentaries.

Virgin Atlantic was recently fined for misleading advertising on the Internet, due to an out-of-date price indication, which suggests the importance of regular updating of Web pages.

The European Parliament has rejected an amendment to the draft Distance Selling Directive that would have introduced prior consent for cold calling throughout the European Community. The draft does, however, include a required cooling-off period of seven days for consumer contracts made at a distance.


Trade mark law in the UK and across the European Community has undergone a considerable change in the last few years. This has been brought about by the Trademark Directive of 1988 and the subsequent introduction of the European Community Trademark Regulation (40/04/EEC dated 20th December 1993). The provisions of the Regulation were implemented by the European Commission in December 1995 and since 1st January of this year it has been possible to file an application for a Community Trade Mark ("CTM"). The first filing date for applications made between 1st January and 1st April 1996 will be 1st April, in order to avoid a backlog of applications. Applications will be assessed by the European trademark office in Alicante, Spain.

The practical impact of the CTM is that trade mark protection can be obtained in all 15 EU member states by way of a single application in any of the official languages of the European Community. The CTM is a substantial step towards achieving harmonisation of the European market in the field of industrial property. It should, in theory, be covered by uniform rules throughout the Community (subject, ultimately, to interpretation by national courts). Applications for a CTM can be made to the office in Alicante or any of the trade mark offices of the 12 member states that have their own trade mark registration system. National trade marks will continue to exist alongside the CTM. As a result, the two systems should be compatible. Before granting a CTM, the European office will have to deal with any conflicts that arise between the CTM applicant and earlier national applications by other parties for similar marks.

Member states have adopted measures to bring their trade mark laws in line with Community trade mark law. The 1994 Trade Mark Act in the UK is based on the 1988 Directive. The Act unifies the old dual system of registration of marks for goods and services and introduces a wider definition of what is registerable as a trade mark. The new definition includes signs that are capable of being represented graphically. If distinctive, packaging shapes may, as a result, qualify for trade mark protection. The Act also widens the test for infringement of a trade mark. It is possible for a trade mark to be infringed if confusion arises from its use on similar goods or services. Previously, infringement would only arise if the mark was used on goods or services of the same type. Trade mark registrants could now find that they are challenged by businesses using the same mark in unrelated areas. As the Act gives priority to the user who files his application first, there is a strong incentive to businesses to register distinctive property early on. The introduction of the CTM will widen that incentive to potential registrants to obtain protection in all 15 member states.

Interpretation of the Community Trademark Regulation in infringement disputes will be the domain of whichever of its national courts each member state designates. Whether this will lead to grey areas and differences of interpretation along national lines remains to be seen.


All About Trademarks from US law firm Guillot & Gazalla LLP (US-geared but links to other IP sites), Lycos search on trademark law, Yugoslavia's War Crimes Tribunal (article on legal implications), Lawlinks (topical law materials by subject).
Search Tools (search by word)
WebCrawler, Yahoo, Lycos, InfoSeek.
Enter search keywords for Lycos:
Journals and Magazines
Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Journal of Current Legal Issues (Newcastle University).
Europa (information on the European Union), European Parliament (complete with maps, a history, and a description of its powers), Global Arbitration Mediation Association (legal forms and links to other legal sites), Intelligence and Counterintelligence Homepage (your guide to intelligence organisations the world over), Law Info (legal marketing service on the Web), The Law Society (professional body for lawyers in England and Wales), Lexis-Nexis (law-information services), Sweet & Maxwell (including the Crown Court Alerting System and case extracts), UK `Open Government' Server (CCTA Government Information Service), US House of Representatives Law Library (an unpredictable selection of sources---the UK Library ranges from the Magna Carta to transcripts of Neville Chamberlain's Poland speeches in 1939).
Back Issues
1995 December: 3 (Legal, Decent Honest and Better?) November: 2 (Unfair Dismissal), October: 1 (Software Patents).
Other links
Yahoo law section, Advertising Law Internet Site(with a US bias, run by Arent Fox), Law Enforcement Home Page (amusing examples of American neuroses), Jeffrey Dahmer's Brain (complete transcript of the battle between criminal psychology research and Dahmer's dad for anyone suffering OJ withdrawal). Legal Insanity Homepage---some of the weakest jokes on the Internet, even for lawyers, by Pinellas County Judge Steven Rushing.

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Copyright (c) ESL 1996.