Region: Africa & Middle East

Supreme Court holds that product shapes can acquire distinctiveness

The Supreme Court has reversed a district court ruling that a product shape is not eligible for registration as a three-dimensional (3D) trademark. While the court found that a product’s 3D shape is, by definition, not inherently distinctive, it may acquire distinctiveness provided that its features are not essentially functional or aesthetic.

16 April 2008

Registration is ZIPed shut as foreign trademark owner loses out

The registrar of patents has granted the application of a local clothing retailer to cancel the trademark ZIP, registered in Israel by a foreign manufacturer, on the grounds of non-use under Section 41 of the Trademarks Ordinance. The applicant formerly imported the trademarked goods without a registered trademark licence agreement between the parties.

19 March 2008

Harshest-ever sentence imposed in drug counterfeiting case

In <i>State of Israel v Chaim</i> the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court has issued the harshest prison sentence ever imposed in a drug counterfeiting case. The court approved the sentence recommended by the prosecution despite finding that it was too lenient in light of the potential impact of the defendant’s actions on public health.

12 March 2008

Criticism grows over World Cup prohibited marks

Controversy has surrounded the publication of a list of FIFA trademarks and words, which the minister of trade and industry proposes be declared as prohibited marks in preparation for the 2010 World Cup. Critics argue that none of these marks is unique to FIFA and the list could potentially lead to absurdities, such as making any 2010 calendar illegal.

10 October 2007

Supreme Court swings trademark law back to European roots

The Supreme Court has ruled that an advertisement for car polish featuring a BMW car did not infringe BMW’s marks. The decision not only brings South African trademark law further into line with EU legal practice, but has also been welcomed for ensuring that IP rights cannot be used to restrict competition in the market.

11 July 2007

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