Journal Article

Case law on pharmaceutical trade marks from the Court of Justice of the European Union

Stephan Hanne

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 6, issue 1, pages 43-50
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI:
Case law on pharmaceutical trade marks from the Court of Justice of the European Union

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Legal context

The Court of Justice of the European Union has rendered more than twenty decisions concerning the likelihood of confusion between pharmaceutical trade marks under Article 8(1)(b) CTMR. This article reviews these cases published until March 2010.

Key points

Despite possible medication errors based on confusions of pharmaceutical trade marks, the Court assesses likelihood of confusion in the same manner as with other marks. The attention displayed by the relevant public plays an important role, and in case of end-users/patients it might be lower than for medical professionals. Furthermore, the relevant public's ability to grasp the often allusive meaning of pharmaceutical trade marks is vital for various factors to be taken into consideration in the assessment of likelihood of confusion.

Practical significance

The article points out which principles in relation to pharmaceutical trade marks have been established by the Court, and in which areas the practitioners should provide facts and arguments from the outset of the proceedings.

Journal Article.  5823 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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