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July 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

More articles by this firm.

Trademark holders can be granted an EU-wide interim injunction if they file the application with the proper court.

Subject to certain conditions, trademark holders can prohibit others from using their trademarks, and the national courts can grant an interim injunction which covers the entire EU. A French trademark holder benefited from this arrangement.
A French shipping company discovered that a competitor was using its Community trademark. To stop the infringing use, the shipping company turned to the French courts for an interim injunction. The injunction was granted, but only for France although the shipping company had filed the application with the court which has jurisdiction in Community trademark cases.
The shipping company believed that was at odds with the Community Trademark Regulation and went to a special court in France in order to be granted an EU-wide injunction. The French court decided to ask the EU Court for a preliminary ruling.
Pick the right court
In brief, the EU Court said that an interim injunction prohibiting infringement of a Community trademark covers the entire EU if it has been granted by a Community trademark court. It was therefore not necessary for the shipping company to apply to the courts of all EU countries for an interim injunction.
The EU Court also said that if an injunction has been granted in one EU country, the courts of the other EU countries must ensure that the injunction is complied with. The enforcement sanctions available to them include fines and other measures under national legislation.
It is now for the French courts to decide the case.
Norrbom Vinding notes:
  • that the EU Court’s ruling confirms that trademark holders in Denmark should not apply to the enforcement courts, but to the Copenhagen Maritime and Commercial Court, which is the competent court in Community trademark cases, if they wish to be granted an EU-wide interim injunction; and

  • that this principle has already been established in a well publicised Danish case between two telecoms companies.
The above does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such

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