Reposted from DLA Piper’s Law à la Mode Edition 4 – Winter 2011

By:  Michael K. Barron, Sarah Phillips and Nadea Taylor (Boston and London)
“AdWords,” the paid, subscription-based Google referencing service which allows users to advertise their companies alongside Google search results, has recently been the subject of much legal scrutiny.  In late September, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a preliminary ruling on questions referred to it by the English High Court in the case between Interflora and Marks & Spencer (“M&S”), regarding the purchase by M&S of the Google AdWord “Interflora” and other similar AdWords. 
In answering the questions referred to it, the ECJ repeated much of the recent jurisprudence in this area, in particular from the Google France case.  Previous cases established that purchasing a third parties’ trademark as an AdWord would only amount to trademark infringement if such use would have an adverse effect on one of the functions of the trademark.  
The ECJ gave the following guidance on how national courts should assess whether the use by a third party of a sign identical with a trademark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse affect on one of the functions of the trademark:

By: Stefania Baldazzi and Annalaura Avanzi  (Milan)

In 1967, the well-known Italian fashion designer Elio Fiorucci founded the fashion brand Fiorucci S.p.A.  After more than two decades of success in Italy and around the world, Mr. Fiorucci sold the company and all of its creative assets to the Tokyo Company Edwin Co. Ltd in 1990.  The sale encompassed all the Fiorucci trademarks, including numerous marks containing the element “FIORUCCI.”

In 1999, Edwin Co. registered the mark “ELIO FIORUCCI,” by filing an application with the Office for Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM), which is a body of the European Commission, for a broad category of goods, including cosmetics, apparel, footwear and leather products. 

Continue Reading Edwin Co. v. Elio Fiorucci: Designer and Company Share a Name?