Archives: Beverage & confectionary

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CJEU gives guidance on 3D shape marks

On September 16, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) responded to three preliminary questions referred to it last year from the High Court of England and Wales. The CJEU gave guidance on the registrability or otherwise of 3-dimensional shapes as trade marks. Although the facts concerned the bitterly fought dispute concerning … Continue Reading

German Federal Supreme Court confirms successor liability for coffee roasters in spite of corporate restructuring

Early this month, the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) published its judgment in the appeal filed by Melitta Europa GmbH & Co. (Melitta Europa) against the 2014 judgment of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (OLG). The OLG confirmed a 55 million euro fine imposed in 2009 by the German Federal Cartel Office on Melitta Kaffee, … Continue Reading

SodaStream fined by the FCO for abusive practices

On 22 January 2015, the German Federal Cartel Office (FCO) fined SodaStream € 225,000 for foreclosing its competitors’ access to the market for refilling of gas cylinders for carbonated drinks machines. In 2006 the FCO found that SodaStream (formely Soda Club), as a dominant company, could not foreclose its competitors from refilling the CO2 cartridges for … Continue Reading

Successor liability for competition fines in cases of corporate restructuring confirmed by Higher Regional Court in Germany

In 2009, the Bundeskartellamt (FCO) imposed fines of approx. 159.5 million euros on three coffee roasters – Tchibo GmbH, Hamburg, Melitta Kaffee GmbH, Bremen, and Alois Dallmayr Kaffee oHG, Munich – and on six employees for price fixing.  The FCO found that in the period between early 2000 and mid 2008 the coffee roasters had … Continue Reading

Brands look to adapt as austerity drive hits luxury goods sector in China

Increased scrutiny in China of the consumption of luxury goods appears to be contributing to slowing demand in certain sectors.  As previously reported, the case of Yang Dacai, a Chinese official who became the subject of an internet campaign focused on the many luxury watches he owned, led to public outrage and an investigation by … Continue Reading

Growth in the California organic products market matched by increase in consumer litigation

Buoyed by health and environmental concerns, the demand for “organic” and “natural” products is soaring in the United States.  The U.S. organic industry was estimated to be worth over USD 31.5 billion in 2011, an increase of 9.5% from the previous year and nearly double its size from five years earlier.  Given that organic products … Continue Reading

Ruling on borderline product classification highlights lack of harmonization in the EU

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently delivered its judgment in case C-109/12 concerning the legal status of medical devices.  The CJEU confirmed Advocate General Sharpston’s opinion that Member States may classify the same product differently and confirms previous rulings of the CJEU.  If the ruling is applied to other borderline products, such as cosmetics and … Continue Reading

New simplified UK visa rules may mean increased luxury spending by Chinese tourists

While in China earlier this month, George Osborne, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a new pilot scheme to simplify the process by which Chinese citizens apply for UK tourist visas. The current, burdensome requirements for Chinese citizens to apply for a UK visa include supplying biometric information, fees of up to £200 (higher … Continue Reading

Companies flouting National Minimum Wage laws to be publicly named and shamed

Since our blog post on the UK Government’s crackdown on the use of un-paid interns, there have been further developments regarding the National Minimum Wage (“NMW”) scheme. In October 2013, restrictions will be stripped back making it easier for an employer who breaks NMW law to be publicly named and shamed. Under the current scheme, the Pay … Continue Reading

Companies leverage YouTube for advertising that doesn’t look like advertising

Red Bull’s YouTube channel has 2.5 million subscribers.  Their video of Felix Baumgartner’s freefall to Earth from space, all while decked out in a Red Bull branded space suit, has 34 million views.  It’s not a fluke.  Red Bull’s other videos containing authentic content – read not obviously an ad – regularly pass the 10 … Continue Reading

Cease and desist letters to “superfans”: the tricky art of protecting a trademark while promoting a brand

Nutella—the delicious nutty chocolate spread made by Ferrero—has its fans, and then it has its superfans.  In the latter category is Sara Rosso, who hosts World Nutella Day every February 5 through a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. But Rosso recently canceled the popular holiday after Ferrero sent her a cease and desist letter, which drew … Continue Reading

Manufacturing in an emerging market: 10 things to include in your contract

Global apparel brands are facing uncomfortable questions about their brand values in the wake of the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh where 1,127 people died.  The disconnect between the brand values promoted by companies using the factory and the reality of appalling working conditions and fundamental lack of rights for workers … Continue Reading

Is India the answer to the increasing costs of production in China?

With wages increasing in China some manufacturers are looking at alternative production centers.  For manufacturers seeking low labor costs, India is appealing and may represent the next frontier for manufacturing, but is it viable option? A 2010 study by America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, at just under a dollar an hour, India’s labor … Continue Reading

European Commission to crack down on e-commerce scams

The European Commission is to crack down on aggressive commercial practices which are discouraging consumers from shopping at online stores in other EU member states. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (the Directive) introduced a standardized set of rules across the EU, including a general prohibition on unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices.  Among the Directive’s provisions are … Continue Reading

China’s top 50 brands 2012

China’s top 50 brands On December 4, 2012, WPP published its third BrandZ Top 50 Chinese Brands annual report.  According to this report, Chinese companies value their brands and are investing in good branding more and more.  Here are some highlights from the Brandz report: The total value of the top 50 most valuable Chinese … Continue Reading

Geographical indication status awarded to Darjeeling tea

Darjeeling tea, renowned for its smooth and mellow taste and often referred to as the “Champagne of teas”, has recently received protected geographical indication (PGI) status by the European Union. Darjeeling tea, famous for its luxurious quality and named after the city located in the mountains near the border with Nepal where it is grown, … Continue Reading

Liquor crisis in China could create opportunities for foreign brands

To some people in the outside world, “Made in China” means low quality.  Most Chinese people recognize that, and some even have their own blacklist of domestic products such as certain brands of milk and cooking oil.  Now they have one more category of products to add to their list: Chinese liquor, or bai jiu. … Continue Reading
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