The bar for copyright infringement of industrial works in Denmark is rather high. A copy must be very similar to an original work and an original work cannot be of a simple or technical nature. In a recent Commercial and Maritime Court case, the Danish ceramics company Kähler's Omaggio series of vases and candleholders was granted copyright protection and Bovictus A/S's KJ collection was found to infringe Kähler's copyright.
A recent Supreme Court case explored the right of individuals to use their own names, an issue on which the general public has strong opinions. The court stated that where a person has used his or her own name as a trademark and assigned the trademark to a third party, the principle of good marketing practice entails that he or she is then prevented from using the name as a trademark for goods or services similar to those for which the trademark was registered.
The Maritime and Commercial High Court recently ruled in favour of shirt manufacturer JT Olesen, finding that competitor Natex's Stanfield Shirt infringed the registered design of JT Olesen's Oscar Shirt and was a slavish imitation of it under the Marketing Practices Act. The court noted that the distinctive features of the Oscar Shirt were, among other things, contrasting-coloured edges in combination with stripes.
Intel recently sued SeaIntel for trademark violation. SeaIntel claimed that 'intel' is an abbreviation of 'intelligence' and that the INTEL mark was thus descriptive. However, the court disagreed and held that SeaIntel had violated Intel's trademark rights and risked taking unfair advantage of its reputation. The defendant was ordered to cease using the designation and to pay remuneration and costs.
In a recent case concerning competing detergent products, the High Court found that the defendants' packaging created a general impression of similarity with the plaintiff's well-known detergent. This position was supported by market research. The High Court found that the defendants' products risked diluting the plaintiff's reputation and market position and granted an injunction without provision of security.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently considered whether the reproduction of a registered design infringed the design right. Although the court issued an interim injunction, the decision is under appeal. The question of whether such a reproduction is a violation has not been decided before and many businesses – especially those manufacturing spare parts – will await future developments with interest.
Novartis AG recently applied for a Danish trademark registration for a patch used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The trademark was registered as a Community trademark, but the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market's cancellation division declared the registration invalid, as the trademark did not possess any sufficiently specific or arbitrary characteristics. The decision was upheld on appeal.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently rejected Unilever's application for an interim injunction regarding competing detergent products for trademark violation and trade dress violation. The court found that no risk of confusion existed between the trademarks and that the defendants had not violated Unilever's trade dress, despite the fact that their packaging used the same colours.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed a Maritime and Commercial Court decision that East Scandic must pay compensation and remuneration for marketing and selling wheel rims which violated BMW's design and trademark rights. On appeal, East Scandic claimed that BMW's design registrations were invalid due to a lack of individual character, but the court rejected this claim.
The High Court recently upheld a judgment in which political party Liberal Alliance was ordered to pay remuneration, compensatory damages and a fine for violation of the Copyright Act, following its use of a photo taken from rival party Venstre's home page in several newspaper ads which promoted Liberal Alliance policies over those of the politician in the photo.
In a recent Maritime and Commercial Court case, Samsonite claimed that Helm, its dealer, should be prohibited from using the designation and domain name 'samshop.dk' in connection with the marketing and sale of Samsonite suitcases and bags. The court found that Helm's use of the business designation and domain name 'samshop.dk' implied a violation of the Marketing Act.
V2H, which owns the EU trademark registration for the mark V2, recently became aware that US company VMR was selling e-cigarettes within the European Union under the trademark V2Cigs and started litigation against the company's Swedish distributor. VMR subsequently filed objections at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market regarding V2H's EU registrations.
In 1999 GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) began marketing a purple inhaler called Seretide® Diskos®. Sandoz began marketing an inhaler named AirFluSal® Forspiro® which was also a purple colour (Pantone 2573C). GSK considered that Sandoz's inhaler violated its trademark rights and applied for an EU-wide injunction against Sandoz. However, the court found for Sandoz and refused to grant an injunction.
In a recent case before the Maritime and Commercial Court a production team and a reggae band sued an advertising agency and a mobile broadband provider for copyright violation.The plaintiffs claimed that the use of a three-note music sequence and the words "oyster oi" in the commercial violated their copyright in the work. This is the first time that a Danish court has found such a short fragment to be protected by copyright.
The Supreme Court recently established that the use and registration of the trademarks SOX INSTITUTE and EUROSOX INSTITUTE after termination of a cooperation did not violate the Sarbanes-Oxley Institute's trademarks. The court stated that at the time of the trademark registration in Denmark, no foreign trademark existed for this registration to violate.
In a recent case, Fritz Hansen and other Danish manufacturers – owners or licensees of copyright of furniture and lamps created by famous Danish architects – sought to prevent two UK companies from selling replica goods in Denmark. The defendants were both domiciled in the United Kingdom and were engaged in the sale of slavish copies of designer furniture and other types of applied art.
In a recent case that has now reached the Supreme Court, Blomqvist had bought one counterfeit Rolex watch from Chinese website Fashion Watch Online. The court confirmed the earlier judgment of the Maritime and Commercial Court and ordered that the watch be destroyed without compensation. The Supreme Court ordered Blomqvist to pay Dkr30,500 as costs at first instance and Dkr100,000 as costs to the Supreme Court.
In a recent decision, the Maritime and Commercial Court confirmed that when goods are cleared through Customs in an EU member state, they become EU goods and, consequently, are considered to have entered into free trade in the European Union. This decision is in line with Council on Foreign Relations decisions.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently considered whether a company should be prohibited from marketing and selling products under two trademarks after it had altered the tags attached to the products. The plaintiffs argued that the alterations would imply such a deterioration of the reputation of their goods or such an infringement of their rights that it should lead to an interim injunction.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently upheld and confirmed an interim injunction against Stormwear for violation of Yakkay's design of a bicycle helmet. As compensation for use of the design, Stormwear was ordered to pay Dkr25,000. However, Stormwear was not ordered to pay anything to cover Yakkay's losses, as Yakkay had failed to prove that it had suffered any loss.