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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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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
Birgit Clark
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Christian Tenkhoff
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MARQUES conference, Day 2, session 1

The vast auditorium of the Hilton Metropole was sparsely populated when today's session began. This was not because conference registrants had fled Brighton in fear of a repetition of the previous night's performance of 'Ode to Joy' in the Brighton Dome by the massed bagpipers of the Balmoral Pipe and Dance Squad. Rather, it was an inevitable consequence of the intensive networking which followed the pipers, when the nocturnal silence of the city was disturbed by the constant sound of business cards being exchanged.

The session, chaired by Kay Uwe Jonas (Jonas Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft GmbH), addressed the theme of sustainability of brands in the food and healthcare sectors. Jorge J Casals Ide (Red Bull) described the tribulations of a single-brand company in policing its brand against what one might call bull-alike products, among others. He showed many examples of encroachment on the name, colour combination and trapezoid motif that characterised his company's ubiquitous product and observed that some jurisdictions seemed rather reluctant to grant pan-European relief. Sometimes, he sighed, it was even necessary to sue one's own distributors. All forms of legal relief have been utilised: trade mark infringement, unfair competition, passing off ...

NestlÚ regulatory affairs manager Karen Perceval spoke next, tackling the interface between the message of a brand and the claims made for it in advertising statements and slogans, claims like "fair trade", "prevents cancer", "strengthens teeth and bones" and "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play". There is a long history of things going wrong with food, which stands in stark contrast with the consistently positively message of the brand. This is why both the manufacture of food products and their labelling are legally regulated. Standardisation is needed: if the brand is the same in every country, the laws protecting health etc should be constant as between jurisdiction too.

Concluding the session, DSM's Ralph Thomas spoke of his company's history and evolution into a diverse quality-of-life enhancing operation with some 800 business-to-business trade marks and more than 15,000 patents. DSM is involved in the United Nations World Food Programme, as part of its commitment to its social aims. DSM also scores top marks in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. He explained the manner in which micronutrients and foods containing them can be deployed in order to combat hunger and malnutrition. The engagement of the company's employees and the raising of awareness among the wider community are also important planks in its policy, a specific example being "Walk the World". where sponsors participate in a walk of 5km, symbolic of the distance walked by poor children around the world each day in their quest for education.

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 10.26
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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