Monday 22 November 2010

No freedom of art for witty German egg cup

Meet the eiPott. A Hamburg Appeal Court has held that use of the trade mark EIPOTT in relation to the attractive egg cup holder displayed above constituted an infringement of Articles 9(1)(b) and (c) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation. The fact that the word eiPott ("egg pot" in English) sounds uncannily like "iPod" didn't help.

Writes Anna Sophie Steinmeister, (Bardehle Pagenberg, Munich), in her note "'Humorous' mark not protected by freedom of art", published online on World Trademark Review here:
"The decision is also significant in that it establishes general rules on the issue of whether the user’s right to freedom of art may prevent a finding of trademark infringement. In this respect, the decision shows that use of a trademark in a witty and humorous manner will not imply that there is no trademark infringement if the mark is used for the main purpose of exploiting its distinctiveness". 

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