ONEL: what constitutes genuine use of a Community Trade Mark?

On 19 December 2012, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down its long-anticipated judgment in the ONEL/OMEL case. This reference from the Court of Appeal of the Hague sought guidance on the question of whether use of a Community Trade Mark (CTM) in a single member state constitutes genuine use in the Community.

Territorial borders should be disregarded. The boundaries of member states are not a relevant consideration for the purposes of assessing genuine use in the Community.

Tterritorial scope is just one factor in the overall assessment and there is no de minimis rule. Other relevant factors are the characteristics of the market concerned, the nature of the goods or services protected by the trade mark and the scale, frequency and regularity of the use…

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