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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Following a gratifyingly long and tasty coffee break, the 500+ conference participants were herded back from their networking and treated to some pretty miserable stuff from the next speaker, myclimate's René Estermann. His report on the effects of global warming, deforestation, carbon emissions and so on was gloomy enough, without the thought that most of us were shuffling uncomfortably in our seats as we realised how small and inadequate has been our response to date -- as reflected in the minimal show of hands in response to the question whether we were taking advantage of the carbon credits scheme when we travel, to offset the damage we do by turning up at MARQUES conferences (among others). René also discussed the myclimate brand itself, together with its Climatop certification mark. The brand, with its strongly voluntary and non-profit ethos, protects the planet and educates it -- but it too needs a protection and marketing policy and has to thrive in its own market.

Next up was Dr Markus Müller (Müller Fottner Steinecke), who tackled the topic of certification marks, considering both their necessity and their sustainability. First among these was the celebrated Grüne Punkt (note: the licensing of this mark has been the subject of much litigation before the ECJ, reviewed here); he also discussed another recently-litigated certification mark, that which relates to Bavarian beers made only with natural ingredients.

Markus reminded us that not every jurisdiction within Europe has separate rules for such marks, since Germany and Austria for instance treat them broadly as regular marks, subject to the exercise of some official discretion when handling them. Surprisingly, some certification marks are not registered in respect of licensing services, while their specification contains all manner of goods other than those for which the certification is granted or sought. The danger of revocation for non-use was mentioned at this point. In concluding, Markus drew attention to various factors that might direct an applicant to opt for certification marks over trade marks, such as their relative flexibility and the short- or long-term nature of the venture to which the mark will be attached.

The third speaker in this session, Michael Keogh, hailed from the increasingly green BP brand -- even though he was wearing an anything-but-green red tie. He spoke of the move from the old 'BP shield' logo, which was one of the best-known logos in the world, with the green and enviromentally-allusive 'helios' (left). Discussing the policing of logos, Michael praised the beta-trialled Google Similar Images Lab, as well as various tricks to identify spammers and fraudsters.

An unusual subject Michael raised was that of inadequate debranding -- making sure that as much evidence of the existence of old livery, etc, can be destroyed or obliterated in order to minimise bad publicity generated by third parties driving decommissioned petrol tankers where the old logo is still visible.

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 12.57
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