On 12 September 2018 the European Parliament approved a proposal for a copyright directive. For the directive to become law another vote has to be held, and this will be in 2019.
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has ruled that Christian Louboutin’s famous red sole does not consist solely of a shape that significantly increases the value of a product, and therefore can be registered as a trademark. This is an important victory for the fashion designer in the long-running battle concerning red-soled shoes.
According to figures from KPMG, the alcoholic beverages market in Poland was worth about PLN 57 billion in 2016, and its value is growing year on year. The industry is of great economic importance, providing numerous jobs and offering a major sales outlet for agricultural production. The selection of the topic for today’s edition is no accident. We believe that developments on the market may cause certain models for protection of intellectual property to grow in importance—alongside growing threats to those rights. We discuss them here from the practical side.
Producers of alcoholic beverages struggle with highly restrictive regulations across many areas of their business. One is advertising. The Polish regulations, in the Act on Sober Upbringing and Combating Alcoholism of 26 October 1982, are quite rigorous compared to most other countries. Essentially it is illegal to advertise alcoholic beverages, but with some leniency for beer. Beer advertising is permitted, subject to great restrictions on manner, place, time, form and content.
The fame or renown of a trademark is not a concept defined in Polish or EU law. The courts try to clarify this notion by pointing to the criteria that must be met for a mark to be regarded as renowned. Although these criteria are already well-established in the EU case law, the Polish courts sometimes add new requirements.
Trademark proprietors try to promote their brands so they become known and recognisable among customers, achieving greater distinctiveness and even repute. A famous brand is the dream of every trademark owner. But sometimes exceptional popularity proves damaging to the brand. Then the trademark can become eroded or genericised.