Logos and No-gos: Can use of a Community Trade Mark in one member state constitute genuine use across the EU

Can use of a Community Trade Mark in one Member State constitute “genuine use” across the EU? The Advocate General says “maybe”.

To avoid revocation of a Community Trade Mark (CTM) for non-use the proprietor must be able to demonstrate "genuine use" of the CTM within the last five years. The Advocate General has given her opinion in Leno v. Hagelkruis (Case C-149/11) on whether use of a CTM in one Member State only is sufficient for "genuine use" of the CTM. In her opinion it may or may not be, depending on the characteristics of the goods or the services the CTM covers.

Her opinion reflects the difficulties of reconciling on the one hand the aims of the internal market with on the other hand the reality of the barriers between the Member States caused by language, transport and consumer tastes.

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