Symbol “®”: pay attention to how you use it!

A recent German decision reanimated the discussion around the validity of the use of the ® symbol. The German court explained that the use of the latter in connection with a mark must be done in strict compliance with the limitations and characteristics that the mark is registered with. The Judge ruled that it can be considered an act of unfair competition, for misleading advertising, the use of a sign, with the "®", which is phonetically similar to a registered trademark, but with a significantly different alphabetical composition. At European level, the two directives on misleading advertising (Dir. No. 84/450/EEC and Dir No. 2006/114 / EC) do not directly govern the use of this symbol, however, they contribute to define the requirements for the deceptiveness of the advertisment. It is stated that the information passed on to consumers about the presence of Intellectual Property Right (eg, the affixing of the ® symbol next to a word on a wrapping) can be misleading if there is no IPR in force for the territory in which a given product is sold. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice seems to go in the same direction (Pall / Dahlmann, C-238/89).

11/20/2009 | Trade Mark