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Decorative fabrics eligible for Trademark registration: CJEU

Written by Laura Cannon- Solent University student on 15 March 2019

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As a result of the recent case of Textilis V Svenkst Tenn, the Court of Justice of the European Union’s fifth chamber issued its ruling on March 14th 2019 after a Swedish appeals court sought clarification on European case law.  It was ruled that “fabrics with decorative designs are eligible to be registered as trademarks.”

This case came about after Svenkst brought a case against Textilis alleging the UK textiles company infringed its ‘Manhattan’ mark for a decorative fabric design featuring a stylised map of the New York City borough. The Swedish court asked firstly whether “an EU regulation governing the eligibility of certain trademarks was applicable to marks registered before its implementation and secondly whether under this regulation a two dimensional product such as fabric decorated with a sign should be treated in the same way as shapes”.

‘Textilis’ filed a counterclaim arguing that “signs constituted by the motif of a fabric cannot be registered as a mark.” The UK Company cited article 7 of EU regulation No 207/2009 which says that signs “which consist exclusively of the shape which gives substantial value to the product cannot be registered as trademarks.”

However in the ruling by the fifth chamber of the CJEU it was found that “two dimensional decorative motifs such as fabrics consisted of more than the shape of the goods in question and so should be treated differently.”

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