EU court to clarify rules on abbreviations
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EU court to clarify rules on abbreviations

IP owners whose trade marks include abbreviations will be advised whether they can be registered in Europe this week

The Court of Justice of the EU is due to rule on Thursday in two joined cases referred to it by Germany’s Federal Patent Court.

In Strigl and Securvita, the Court will decide how national courts should interpret Article 3(1)(b) and (c) of the Trade Marks directive. Article 3(1)(b) says that a trade mark cannot be registered if it is devoid of distinctive character. Article 3(1)(c) says that a mark cannot be registered it if consists exclusively of a sign or indication that designates certain characteristics of the good or service, such as its quality or intended purpose.

These cases deal with the registerability of Multi Markets Fund MMF and NAI – Der Natur-Aktien-index. Each mark is composed of a descriptive phrase and an abbreviation that is not descriptive in itself that corresponds to the first letters of the other words.

In January, Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen issued his opinion in the joined cases, in which he said that such marks must be assessed under Article 3(1)(b) of the directive, and not under Article 3(1)(c), since the marks are not composed exclusively of descriptive signs or indications.

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