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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
Blog Administrator
Christian Tenkhoff
Fidel Porcuna
Gino Van Roeyen
Markku Tuominen
Niamh Hall
Nikos Prentoulis
Stefan Schröter
Tomasz Rychlicki
Yvonne Onomor
Erroneous reasoning in composite trade mark cases – instructions from the supreme courts of Greece

In recent judgments, both supreme courts of Greece, the Court of Cassation (supreme civil court) and the Council of State (supreme administrative court) repealed judgments of appellate courts on the ground of erroneous or inadequate reasoning of their findings. In a case involving trade marks which depict the packaging of chocolate products (including both word and design elements), the Greek Court of Cassation ruled (judgment No. 1227/2008) that, in order to justify its finding of lack of confusing similarity, the Athens Court of Appeal court should have made a detailed account of the design elements of the trade marks involved, so that its ruling of lack of similarity could be assessed by the Court of Cassation. In the background of the judgment lies the established case law rule that, in composite trade mark cases, the design elements of a mark may be equally or more decisive than the word element(s) for the creation of the overall impression to consumers. Thus, held the Court of Cassation, for the correct of erroneous application of the law on confusing similarity to be assessed, the lower courts must include in their judgment a description of all the relevant factors, which necessarily entails description of the relevant design elements.

In almost identical words, the Council of State repealed three judgments of the Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens in a case involving – again - chocolate products. In its judgments No. 101, 102 and 103/2008, the Council of State held that the Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens should have described both the word and the design elements of the trade marks involved in order for its rulings to be reviewed within the framework of a final appeal.

In both instances, the courts remitted the cases to the respective appellate courts for a new hearing.

Posted by: Nikos Prentoulis @ 14.12
Tags: appellate court, Greece, Greek supreme court, reasoning,
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