E.U. Advocate General OKs Surnames as Trademarks

Law360, New York (January 15, 2004, 12:00 AM EST) -- In a decision with wide ramifications, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice said Thursday that U.K.'s Nichols PLC is entitled to trademark a surname.

If confirmed by the full European Court of Justice, the decision would allow protection to other companies with relatively common names.

"Any judgment as to the distinctiveness of a surname must observe the same guidelines as those applicable to other types of word marks," said the Advocate General Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer.

"There is nothing in the Directive to justify...
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