European Court of Justice Allows Similar-Sounding Trademarks

Law360, New York (January 13, 2004, 12:00 AM EST) -- A name that is audibly similar to a geographical indication does not necessarily violate intellectual property rights, the European Court of Justice ruled last week.

In a lawsuit between two marketers of mineral water with similar-sounding names, the court said that the geographical name “Kerry” did not infringe on the trade mark “Gerri,” provided it was used “in accordance with honest practices."

Gerolsteiner Brunnen, which markets mineral water and soda in Germany under the trademark “Gerri”, had sued rival Putsch, which marketed similar drinks in Germany...
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