The Dutch Docket No Longer A Rocket

Author:Mr Richard Price
Profession:Winston & Strawn

We have assembled a lot of materials and statistics comparing the leading European patent litigation jurisdictions. This variations between these courts has lead to widespread forum shopping. There have been fewer opportunities to compare the passage of cases in leading jurisdictions in trade mark cases.

Our group has now had the experience of being able to compare the progress of two trade mark cases, essentially about the same subject-matter, in the English and Dutch courts, to the highest level in each case. The outcomes were similar. The timelines to the final decision in each country were starkly different.

The cases concerned the words BACH, BACH REMEDIES and BACH FLOWER REMEDIES used in practice in relation to complementary medicines, and in registration for pharmaceutical and homeopathic remedies and services related to them.

The story started back in the 1930s. Dr Edward Bach was a well-renowned physician practising in Harley Street, London. Dr Bach became convinced of a link between emotional and physical health and, from 1930 onwards, devoted himself entirely to finding natural remedies that would combat poor health by introducing harmony and peace into the lives of patients. With this in mind he developed remedies manufactured from plant flowers and blossoms of trees and shrubs. Each of these remedies was attuned to specific emotions and frames of mind.

Dr Bach described his remedies in a book that appeared in 1933 entitled "The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies". This book also contained precise indications of how the remedies should be prepared, and two methods were described for this. He was, and remained, very keen to ensure that as many people benefitted from the remedies and that they should know how to make them. The book also gave the details of two firms of London chemists who would supply the remedies for people who could not make their own.

Whether, Dr Bach's prescription for a healthy life benefitted him I had rather doubted. In 1936, Dr Bach died prematurely. He was only 50 years old. He had moved to a small village in Oxfordshire to carry on his complementary medicine work. However, I have recently learnt that he was diagnosed as having cancer in 1917 and so to survive another nearly 20 years, and to continue his philanthropic work to the end, was a significant achievement.

After his death, his assistants (disciples even) carried on his philanthropic work. In 1979, a successor to those disciples, but not Dr Bach's...

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