PGA Intellectual Property Newsletter – 13/07/2020

PGA Intellectual Property Newsletter – 13/07/2020

by PGA
Infringement of IP and internet provider liability

The Swedish Court of Appeal condemned the provider Telia Company for having favoured certain internet sites in the infringement of intellectual property. The ruling was issued following an action taken in 2018 by Disney, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and several other multinational companies. In particular, the Swedish Court had already intervened in the past by issuing a so-called dynamic injunction against Telia Company. The provider was ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, Nyafilmer, Fmovies and many other sites for violation of section 53B of the Swedish Act on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works. The applicants submit, therefore, that Telia, by providing internet access to its customers and also allowing access to those sites, cooperated in the infringements found.
The decision confirms the approach adopted by many countries and the recent growth in the use of dynamic injunctions to paralyze IP infringements.

The use of patronymic as a company name

In a recent ruling, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation clarified the scope of Article 21, paragraph 1, letter a), of the Italian IP Code, regarding the use of patronymics in economic activity. This is the final event in a complex dispute brought by Salini Costruzioni S.p.a. against Salini LocateIli (now ICS Grandi Lavori S.p.a.), Salini Global Service S.r.l. and Claudio Salini. In particular, Salini Costruzioni acted in order, among other things, to prevent its counterparties from using the patronymic “Salini” as a company name.

On the basis of consolidated jurisprudence on the matter, the Italian Supreme Court has ruled that where two companies with share capital have the same name, the priority must be given to registration in the company register. On the contrary, neither the mere past use of the same name by another company, which has long ceased to operate and which was owned by family members of the partner of one of the companies registered second, nor the fact that the name of the latter coincides with the surname of one of those partners is relevant.

The registrability of commercial slogans

In a recent judgment (T-156/19, 13/05/2020, Koenig & Bauer), the General Court (EU) refused registration as a Community trade mark of the English language idiomatic expression ‘We’re on it’ to distinguish goods and services in classes 1 to 4, 7, 9, 11, 16 and 35 to 42.
According to the decision, in particular, the expression “We’re on it” would convey the idea that the applicant “will take care of it” or that it is worthy of trust or confidence. However, according to the Court, the message in question would be applicable to any type of product or service. The sign would therefore lack the necessary distinctive character.
With regard to the registration of slogans, reference is made to the famous judgment of the Court of Justice in the “AUDI” case. On that occasion, the CJEU ruled that the distinctive function of the mark may be compatible with that of the slogan provided that it is assessed on the basis, on the one hand, of the nature of the goods or services for which registration is sought and, on the other hand, of the perception of the relevant public.