find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Judge warns against trade marks on shapes

Judge warns against trade marks on shapes

A recent Federal Court decision on chocolate sea shells highlights the pitfalls associated with 'shapes' in trademarks cases, according to a legal expert

A recent Federal Court decision on chocolate sea shells highlights the pitfalls associated with "shapes" in trademarks cases, according to a legal expert. 


Long-time chocolaterie Guylian has been unsuccessful in its attempt to register as a trade mark its seahorse-like shape praline chocolate. Justice Sundberg dismissed the application, and found that the chocolate seahorse shape was not sufficiently inherently distinctive to the extent required by the Trade Marks Act 1995. 


Lea Lewin, an IP lawyer at Nicholas Weston, a Melbourne law firm, wrote on the firm's blog that Guylian chocolates are "particularly well-known, at least to those consuming large amounts of chocolates at dinner parties in 1985, is its sea-shell range which comprise marine life shapes, filled with a praline hazelnut centre; yum".


In a bitter debate for the chocolate maker, the registrar argued that the "fanciful stylised" representation of a seahorse, which the chocolatier said "departs radically from the shape of seahorses found in nature", possesses an ordinary signification which other traders might want to use. 


Lewin wrote: "Justice Sundberg found the ultimate question to be tried was ‘whether there is a likelihood that other traders, acting with proper motives, will think of the shape and wish to use the same shape or one substantially identical or deceptively similar’. 


"His Honour noted that seashell shaped chocolates had been sold in Australia since at least 1990 and as such ‘it seems to me reasonable to expect that, as at the priority date, other traders might wish to make chocolates in the shape of a seahorse, as well as other marine creatures’," Lewin wrote. 


Lewin, who writes on the Australian Trade Marks Law Blog, said that while the requirements for registration of shape marks are the same as for other types of marks, this decision emphasises the difference between simply using a shape and actually using it as a trade mark.


Clearly a chocolate lover, Lewin added: "To my mind, Guylian were the pioneers of the lovely “Perles d’Ocean” chocolate range but their trade marks department appears to be a bit cute by saying, in effect: 'oh, we did not rely on those 'Perles d'Ocean' advertising campaigns to become well known, just the shape of that delicious seahorse right there'. Regardless, the writer will remain loyal."





Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Judge warns against trade marks on shapes
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...