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Presentation at the UCL IBIL Seminar on Trade Mark Law and the Internet (February 24, 2010)

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  • I have only taken into account the cases I have been able to access to (published on public or private databases)
  • London24feb10(Ucl)

    1. 1. Trademarks & the Internet - The French perspective Cédric Manara EDHEC Business School (France) LegalEDHEC Research Center <>
    2. 2. Uderzo & Goscinny, Fish fight
    3. 3. Trademarks & the Internet The A French perspective
    4. 4. <ul><li>0. Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>1. eBay -related cases </li></ul><ul><li>2. Google -related cases </li></ul><ul><li>… Sedo , etc. </li></ul>
    5. 5. 0. French landscape <ul><li>An IP-friendly country </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many luxury brands & publishers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6 recent laws to make repression more severe (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 x 2) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The third State in the world for the number of trademark registrations </li></ul>
    6. 6. Who said &quot; chauvinists &quot;? <ul><li>We, French, do not know much when it comes to EU trademark law </li></ul><ul><li>We, French, invented the Minitel </li></ul><ul><li>We, French, pretend to know what is the internet, and even to rule it: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see &quot;3 strikes&quot; law [2009] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>see &quot;Google tax&quot;  [2010] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>remember the Yahoo case? [2000] </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Yes, we rule the internet! <ul><li>Application of French law in international conflicts: from excessive… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Payline [1997] : Infringement of a French trademark when a German company uses on its German pages a similar sign </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… to more reasonable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hugo Boss [2005] : No infringement of a French trademark if the foreign website does not target the French public </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Other examples of erring cases <ul><li>300 + cases in which domain names were deemed infringing to trademarks </li></ul><ul><li>… though there was no use, only mere reproduction </li></ul><ul><li>Dec. 2005: Court of cassation said stop </li></ul><ul><li> Epistemology </li></ul>
    9. 9. UDRP complainants’ country of origin [between 1999 & 2007] [before WIPO] Source: AFNIC report, 2007
    10. 10. Litigation level in France: high <ul><li>Legislative efforts towards courts specialization </li></ul><ul><li>Specific fields of regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decree on .fr names [Feb. 2007] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>+ several ADR mechanisms for trademark owners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>including dispute resolution administered by the .fr registry itself </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. 1. eBay -related cases <ul><li>Cases against eBay users for trademark infringement on eBay pages: ~ 30 </li></ul><ul><li>Cases against eBay for trademark infringement on eBay pages: 0 </li></ul>
    12. 12. eBay -related cases <ul><li>June 2008: 4 cases in which were rejected the ‘hosting provisions’ of the eCommerce Directive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Troyes court of first instance, Hermès </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Civil liability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paris commercial court [3 rulings the same day: Dior & Guerlain , Dior Couture , LVMH ] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Legally, this court did not have jurisdiction… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>L’Oréal case  you must talk to each other! [Paris civil court, May 2009] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[several other decisions granted eBay the benefit of the ‘hosting provisions’ shield, but not in trademark cases] </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. eBay -related cases [2] <ul><li>eBay sued by Dior , Kenzo , Givenchy & Guerlain for the use of trademarks in ~40 sponsored links displayed on Google, MSN, Yahoo & AOLSearch, which directed to its pages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>37 keywords purchased by eBay affiliates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 by eBay itself </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The trademarks were used for promotional purposes </li></ul><ul><li>The use of these signs as keywords is likely to create confusion [Paris Court, 18 Sept. 09] </li></ul><ul><li> though the court further notes that there is no ambiguity on the identity of the advertiser! </li></ul><ul><li> ‘ advertisers’ selection in AdWords of keywords which correspond to trade marks can take place for many legitimate purposes ’ </li></ul><ul><li> ‘ trade mark proprietors can prevent [the use of trade marks in the ads] if it involves a risk of confusion’ </li></ul><ul><li>[CJEU Advocate General, 22 Sept. 09 – C-236/08, No 152-153] </li></ul>
    14. 14. eBay -related cases [3] <ul><li>Louis Vuitton sued eBay for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the use of typos of its name in ~25 sponsored links displayed on Google, Yahoo, Yahoo Shopping, Altavista & MSN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>which directed to default pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paris Court [11 Feb. 2010] </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no confusion on the origin of goods ( ! ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but unjustified use of well-known trademarks in ads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>+ parasitism of LV commercial name & domain name </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. 2. Google-related cases <ul><li>About 50 cases in 6 years </li></ul>
    16. 16. Who was the target ?
    17. 17. 47 rulings [first instance] <ul><li>5 claims rejected </li></ul><ul><ul><li>evidence issues, use of a generic expression, trademark deemed void, no harm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4 cases withdrawn </li></ul><ul><li>Sanction in 38 cases </li></ul>
    18. 18. Extreme diversity of legal grounds
    19. 19. What explains this diversity ? [1]
    20. 20. What explains this diversity ? [2] <ul><li>Courts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding of the functioning of AdWords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes take into account the keyword generator, sometimes not </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Misapplication of EU trademark law </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evolution of the AdWords program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education of the courts </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Other Google -related cases [1] <ul><li>Search tools not liable for the way they display trademarks in natural results </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Yahoo + Google 2009 case [cited in England and Wales High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) Decision of July 16, 2009, [2009] EWHC 1765 (QB)] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Google Books contrary to French copyright law, but use of publishers’ trademarks found lawful [Dec. 2009] </li></ul>
    22. 22. Other Google -related cases [2] <ul><li>Google Suggest </li></ul>
    23. 23. Other Google -related cases [3] <ul><li>2 companies sued after their name had been combined with the word ‘ arnaque ’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CNFDI : An insult that must be removed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct Energie : Court ordered to explain clearly how the suggestions are generated </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24.  What to make of all this ? <ul><li>New tools  renewed view of protection? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>French courts tend to find that the internet users can easily be confused </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CJEU Advocate General is skeptical there can be a risk of confusion [No 82 to 92] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New forms of uses of trademark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mirror what internet users are doing, expecting, or looking for </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they qualify as ‘use’ under trademark law? </li></ul></ul>