The Onel-case 2011

Onel trademarks, a company related to Knijff Trademark Attorneys (and MarkMatters.com), is the subject of a very interesting case which will now be presented before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Key issue is whether the use of a European trademark, a trademark right in 27 countries, is sufficient in the event this use concerns only one country (the effect would be that an European trademark with use in Malta could stop other trademarks in the entire European Union).

Today our observations have been filed by our lawyer ms. Wille with the Court of Justice. This is a good time to look back to all the articles and publications that have been published on this topic.

To begin with, the above question is rather difficult with important pros and cons. As expected, opinions vary widely.

However, we find it remarkable that some articles struggle with the facts in this case. So, we read that Onel has not used her trademark abroad. That is not correct, the defendant stated that it was aware that Onel has been used in the Netherlands but wanted that Onel showed use outside the Netherlands. Onel was and still is of the opinion that use in country should be sufficient to demonstrate use of its European trademark.

A good article with the pros and cons is coming from the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property itself (the instance that rendered the famous decision).

Arnaud Bos

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