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News article | 11 February 2020 | Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

TRADE MARKS AND COPYRIGHT ON COPYRIGHT

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Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Welcome once again to the wonderful world of IP news.

 

Helly Hansen vs. Off-White

Helly Hansen (HH) has filed a lawsuit against Off-White (OW) claiming trade mark infringement. Indeed, OW has been, apparently, using a logo confusingly similar to HH's stripe logo on goods that are identical and/or similar to the goods offered by HH. Coincidence? HH claims that there is not a chance; according to the owner OW has been doing it with knowledge and with the intent to create a false suggestion of affiliation or connection between these two brands, even though no such connection exists. Here the images so you can judge by yourself:

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(the first image belongs to Off-White and the second one from Helly Hansen)

 

After almost a year since the lawsuit was filed (2019), the parties have come to a settlement and are currently preparing their settlement agreement.

 

Big Horn infringed Red Bull's trade mark

According to the UK’s High Court, Red Bull’s trade mark has been infringed by one of its competitors “Big Horn”. Indeed, the Court found that Big Horn’s signs were likely to give rise to confusion between consumers (the issue here revolved around a yellow sun in the background with two bulls fighting against the two big horns fighting against the same yellow sun background). In addition, Big Horn is taking unfair advantage of the distinctive character and reputation of the Red Bull trade mark. Here are the two energy drinks side to side for you to make the comparison.

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Balmain does not own lion’s heads on a button

The CJEU has barred Balmain from registering two medallion-style designs of a lion’s head used on buttons as trade marks. Indeed, according to the judge, the design featuring a lion's head is actually a common feature of button design in the fashion industry and therefore lacks the required distinctiveness to be registered as a trade mark.

 

The aftermath of Dark Horse

Okay, this gets very twisty so I’ll try to make the story as smooth as possible. If you remember, back in summer we reported about Katy Perry’s infringement with her song “Black Horse”. Back then a fellow musician and YouTuber named Adam Neely, posted a YouTube video supporting Katy Perry and explaining why this lawsuit and the decision that ensued were dangerous for the music industry, in his opinion. In doing so, and for the sake of explanation he played 30 seconds of the relevant extracts, for illustration purposes.

Funny that Neely is now the one targeted by a copyright infringement claim on YouTube from Warner Chappel (Perry’s publisher who was also found guilty of infringement, by the way). Why? Well, because he used a fragment of Dark Horse’s melody in his video. First fun fact: Chappel, as a defendant of the case, claimed that said melody was NOT a melody just a background element of their track (so minor that it was no copyrightable). Second fun fact: the infringement was not flagged by YouTube’s system, but was filed manually by a human, human that actually inaccurately identified a fragment from Joyful Noise as the one belonging to Dark Horse… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

 

This is all for this week. You can expect a new blog post on Thursday on a very interesting topic so stay tuned!