The Onel-case: a summary

Yesterday the pleadings took place in the Onel-case with the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. A short summary.

Onel trademarks’ advocate Kriek Wille stressed  the  unitary character of the internal market, it is one big marketplace. Therefore, any use that can be considered as normal in this market should be sufficient to maintain trademark rights. Genuine use that took place in one country should be sufficient.

Jaap Spoor, Hagelkruis’ advocate, took the view that a European trademark requires considerable use, this in view of the extensive character of this right. Therefore, there should be a requirement for considerable use, thus use of a trademark in one country is per definition not sufficient. There is no need for companies to register an European trademark when the use is solely intended for one country.

Several countries filed written opinions and some elaborated their opinions yesterday. Denmark defended their opinion that use in one country is per definition not enough. Countries like France and Hungary as well as the European commission expressed their view that there should no per definition rule whatsoever. Use should be assessed on case by case basis.

Advocate General Sharpston asked several parties to further explain their opinions, in particular based on a practical case of a trademark for niche products.

Now we will await the opinion of Ms Sharpston which will be delivered on July 5. MarkMatters.com will keep you posted! For questions please contact us.

Arnaud Bos

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