ECJ Refuses Trade Marks Freeriding On Reputation Of Botox

Author:Van Bael Bellis
Profession:Van Bael & Bellis

On 10 May 2012, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("ECJ") upheld a judgment of the General Court ("GC") which had dismissed actions brought by Helena Rubenstein SNC and L'Oréal SA against a decision of OHIM - the EU's trade mark registration office - to annul the companies' trade marks.

In 2003, OHIM registered the word signs 'BOTOLIST' and 'BOTOCYL', submitted by Rubenstein and L'Oréal respectively, as Community trade marks in respect of cosmetic products. In 2008, both trade marks were declared invalid by OHIM following an application for annulment by Allergan Inc, which owned earlier Community and national trade marks relating to the word sign 'BOTOX'. Rubenstein and L'Oréal appealed OHIM's decision before the GC. In 2010, the GC dismissed the companies' actions and confirmed OHIM's findings. The two companies subsequently appealed to the ECJ.

In its recent judgment, the ECJ rejected the appeal and found that the GC had not erred in law in concluding that OHIM's decision was valid. The GC...

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