Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Position Trademark at the Wrong Position? Who Cares!

I came across a fairly interesting decision relating to Levi's "red tab" - a small red flag made of tissue mostly with "Levi's" written on it on the left hand side of the right back pocket of Levi`s famous Jeans.

A german manufacturer has now sewed little red flags with his trademark on the right border of the right back pocket and was sued for trademark infringement.

Levi's has used a broad collection of trademarks showig the red tab with and without the Logo "Levi's" and togehter with pockets with or without ornamental seams. In the decision cited above, the BGH argued that the assesment of the strenghended distinctive character by the upper district court was based on polls where the red tab was not shown in an isolated form but together with other features (e.g. ornamental seams of "arcuate" double-wing shape) indicating the origin of the product.

The case had been reffered back to the upper district court, which has found that the only difference in the position does not prevent the risk of confusion in a sufficient way.

The fact that the trademark was registered as a "position trademark" does not appear to play a role in any of the judgements.

A new trial will be held on October 19, 2011 at the BGH in this matter.

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