Is There a Likelihood of Confusion Between EZ and EZ PUT?

We are happy to inform you of a great win of our firm in a trademark opposition case.
One of the questions reviewd in this case is whether merchandise of a rapper constitute trademark use beyond his music services?

EZ, An Israeli rapper singer has opposed our client’s trademark application EZ PUT, a company that sells mobile phone accessories (class 9). The rapper claimed that the mark EZ PUT is confusingly similar to his mark, registered in class 41, that his mark is well known and should gain a wider protection based on his sales of merchandise of shirts and hats.

EZ PUT claimed that there is no likelihood of confusion, that both marks have a different design, style and meaning, that his mark is not well known and that there is no material connection between music services and mobile accessories.

EZ PUT has also claimed that the sale of the fasion merchandise cannot considered as valid trademark use in other classes beyond the music services.

The TM Registrar rejected the opposition entirely while fully accepting EZ PUT claims including the use of merchandise claim:

“A man who purchase a shirt with the name METALLICA doesn’t do so beacause the sign of the band shows the quality or origin of the shirt, but to convey the symbols of the band on his chest as a cultural massage and to show his musical preferences”

EZ PUT was represented by Yossi Sivan – Law Firm

5 Tips on How to Overcome Trademark Refusals in Israel

There are several kinds of refusals usually issued by the Israeli Trademark Office. We have decided to share with you our 5 important tips on how to overcome a Trademark Refusal in Israel based on our intensive experience in Trademark prosecution. This is a must read for every trademark attorney who files Trademarks in Israel. 

  • Beware of What You Write in Your Response – All Trademark Files in Israel are Public

Since 2015 all trademark files in Israel, covering most of the examination process of trademark applications, are public and can be viewed easily online by others.

It is very important to understand that any claim you claim to overcome any refusal may be held against the client, either by a certain competitor or by any other third party who can easily gain access to the online files. Make sure no confidential information is subbmited in your response.   

For example, if you agree to limit the protection of your application just to overcome a certain refusal your limitation can be used by any third party to block any claim of trademark infringement against him.

Your pleadings in the prosecution process might negatively affect your enforcement options. Therefore, we always recommend asking the local attorney to provide a short brief of the respond by bullet points in English.     

  • Do Not Respond Immediately to an Office Action – Wait and Consider All Options First

Our usual instinct as trademark attorneys is to ask the local attorney to respond an office action by the deadline. It is very important to consider all options before you do so. Such option can be for example to wait until the other side has responded.

For example, once you receive a refusal (Office Action) in which your application cannot be registered based on similarity to other application that hasn’t been accepted yet, you might want to wait until the owner of the cited application has answered, to see his respond and then to decide on the proper course of action.

In that case you can wait a few days before the deadline expires to review the other side’s response first. Reviewing the claims of owners of the cited application first can provide you with material advantage in the process.

  • Ask the Local Attorney to Demonstrate the Use of the Mark using Online Information

In lack of distinctive character refusals, trademark attorneys are confronting claims against the character of the mark. It is very important to show the examiners the actual use in the market using online information.  

In many cases we were able to prove that the mark is distinctive by showing the specific use in the market and how is the specific use in the market acquires a special character to the mark. 

  •  Use Foreign Registrations

In lack of distinctive character refusals, if your client has foreign registrations from his Country of Origin for the same mark for the same list of goods, then you can use Section  16 of the Israeli Trademark Ordinance and request that the registration will be based on foreign registration. By doing so you can efficiently overcome a lack of distinctive character refusal.

  • Ask the Local Attorney to Call the Examiner BEFORE responding the Office Action

Experience shows that in many cases a quick chat with the Examiner can do miracles and be even more efficient than an elaborated response.

We recommend in some of the cases to ask the local attorney to have a short chat with the Examiner, understand his views and specifically ask him what you can provide in order to change his mind BEFORE submitting a detailed response.

Indeed, investing the time and energy in talking with the Examiner can be time consuming, but It is very important to understand that if you fail to convince the Examiner, the second phase would be traveling to Jerusalem, attending the hearing and persuading the Trademark Registrar, this could be very costly for the client even before appealing the decision to the relevant District Court.                        

Yossi Sivan & Co. Law Office is specialized in Trademark Prosecution and litigation in Israel.

 

 

 

The above shall not be considered as any legal opinion whatsoever and we recommend consulting with a professional attorney.

      

 

  

 

   

Who Filed the Most Israeli Trademark Applications in 2018?

The Israeli Patent and Trademark Authority has recently published a report for the year 2018 which exhibits the statistics and activities of the Israeli Patent and Trademark Authority for the year 2018.

The following are the main statistics taken from the 2018 report:

2018 has shown a steady level in both national and international trademark filings in Israel according to the 2018 Patent and Trademark Office published by the Israeli Patent and Trademark Authority (see 2017 Patent and Trademark Office Report)

A total of 10,686 trademark applications were filed in 2018: 5,799 international applications and 4887 national applications.

Apple Inc. has filed the most trademark applications in Israel: 61 international applications and 27 national applications. This is the second year that Apple Inc. is taking the place of the number one trademark applicant in Israel. Israel’s mobile industry is thriving especially in the categories of mobile apps and mobile technology.

Novartis holds the second place with a total of 55 applications: 50 national applications and only 5 international applications.

Sanrio Company holds the third place with 54 national applications and 0 international applications.

Jonson & Jonson holds the fourth place with a total of 45 applications: 44 national applications and only 1 international application.

75.6% of the applicants in 2018 were foreign companies and 24.4% were local.

24.4% of the applicants are from Israel, 20.9% are from the US, 7.2% are from Germany and 7.2% are from China.

Yossi Sivan, Trademark Attorney

Yossi Sivan, Trademark Attorney

Owner & General Partner at Yossi Sivan & Co. Law Offices

 

The 2017 Israeli Patent and Trademark Authority Report

The Israeli Patent and Trademark Authority has recently published a report for the year 2017 which exhibits the statistics and activities of the Israeli Patent and Trademark Authority for the year 2017. The following are the main statistics taken from the 2017 report.

TRADEMARKS

During the 2017 year, the examination period for trademark applications in Israel has been shortened to a period of 12 months (in relation to the previous year where the examination period was 16 months).

In the year 2017 there was an increase of 14% of trademark applications filed in Israel. 55% of the applications were international applications based on the Madrid Protocol, and 45 % of the applications were national applications.

The number of international applications based on the Madrid Protocol has risen by 19% and the number of national applications has risen by 9%.

The applicant with the greatest number of applications was Apple Inc. with 81 applications. The second is Johnson and Johnson with 71 applications, followed by Phillip Morris with 57 applications and Huawei Technologies with 51 applications. The highest number of applications (21.6%) were filed by U.S. applicants. Applicants from Israel made up 24.2% of applications and China 6.6% of applications.

DESIGNS

The New Design Law, which replaced the Patent and Design Ordinance of 1924 was confirmed by the Israeli Parliament and became valid as of August 7, 2018. The leading foreign applicants for design in Israel were Facebook (54), Scania (29), and Dyson Technologies (26).

PATENTS

In 2017, there were 6,813 patent applications filed in Israel. The foreign applicants with the most patent applications were Facebook (94 applications), Phillip Morris (82 applications), and Raytheon Company (62 applications). In 2017, 89.9% of the applicants of patent applications were foreign citizens/companies and 10.1% of the applicants were local applicants.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from here: https://en.calameo.com/read/00566845929ff1d51897c

 

 

Recommended by the World Trademark Review as an Israeli Trademark Expert

We are pleased to inform you that our firm has been recommended by the World Trademark Review as an Israeli Trademark Expert:

Other recommended experts category:

“…. Yossi Sivan & Co’s storied entertainment star Yossi Sivan has represented giants such as Sony, Electronic Arts and Microsoft; he is as formidable at enforcing trademarks as he is at filing them…”

 

Legal 500 Recommendation as a Leading Intellectual Property Firm for 2017

Legal 500 2017 Recommendation: 

Yossi Sivan & Co. Law Offices has been recommended by the LEGAL 500 2017 edition as an Israeli leading firm in the Intellectual Property Disputes category:

Yossi Sivan & Co. has ‘extraordinary knowledge and expertise in trade mark and copyright litigation’. The ‘practical and personable’ Yossi Sivan has extensive experience of IP cases involving international clients…” 

The Diamond of the Crown – No likelihood of Confusion between IGL and CGL

Israel’s diamond industry is estimated at around 4 billion dollars a year. Israel considered as one of the strongest players in the international diamond market. Naturally, there is fierce competition in the industry, a competition that sometimes reaches the court’s doorstep.

Recently the Israeli District Central Court has ruled a very important decision in trademark matters concerning the diamond industry.

IGL, a gemological laboratory that provides assessment, analysis and grading services of diamonds jewelry and gemstones under mark IGL, has sued another gemological laboratory for the use of the mark CGL.

IGL has claimed that the mark CGL is an infringement of the IGL registered trademark.

In addition to a monetary compensation of NIS200,000 and a permeant injunction,  IGL has also filed a motion for a temporary injunction to prevent the use of the mark CGL until the final decision by Court.

IGL’s claims

IGL has claimed that the use the mark CGL and the designed logo constitutes trademark infringement, passing off and unlawful exploitation of its reputation.

IGL also claimed that the use of the similar logos and colors (black and gold) causes confusion in the market.

Below are the design marks of IGL and CGL:

CGL’s claims

CGL, represented by Yossi Sivan & Co. Law Offices has claimed that the motion is groundless, and that its sole purpose was to temper the successful activities of CGL.

CGL has claimed and demonstrated that the use of the words I, G and L are a common practice in the gemological diamond industry and that the acronyms IGL are not identified exclusively with IGL.

CGL has also claimed that the use of a round designed seal next to three acronyms letters are a common practice in the gemological industry, therefore cannot be identified by the consumers as related specifically to IGL.

CGL further argued that there is no likelihood of confusion between the marks based on the triple test: The visual test, the phonetic test and type of goods and consumers test.

CGL further argued that they provide professional diamond and gemstone evaluation services primarily to diamond dealers and merchants and that this is a sophisticated audience that is well acquainted with the companies involved in the field and can distinguish very well between the services provided by the IGL and the services of CGL ie, professional evaluations of diamonds, which are also accompanied by different visual appearance.

CGL has also claimed that diamonds are considered to be the most expensive products and require careful examination, which eliminates any likelihood of confusion in the market.

In addition, CGL argued that it’s manager has a considerable reputation of almost 40 years in the diamond market therefore, there is no reasonable possibility that a diamond merchant will arrive to CGL’s laboratory and will erroneously believe that it is related to IGL, who are unknown in the field.

The Court’s Decision

Following the submission of pleadings, conducting cross-examination of the party’s witnesses and oral summaries, the Central District Court of Lod has decided as follows:

The Court has found that, despite the alleged similarity of the round shape that symbolize a seal, there are substantial differences in the decorations of the logo, which add additional differences in the letters and wording of the marks.

The Court stipulated that these differences exclude a reasonable possibility of visual likelihood of confusion between the marks.

Applying the type of goods and consumers test, the District Court has accepted the CGL’s position that gem and diamond assessment services are services based on professional criteria, which include careful examination of a laboratory, preparation of a report, evaluation and finally the issuance of an appropriate certificate.

The Court was impressed that providing such services will usually be accompanied by the purchase of precious stones in a considerable amount of money and that it’s not a “shelf product,” but rather a unique product, that is directed to a sophisticated customer, which reduces the likelihood of confusion.

The District Court was also impressed that the CGL’s owners are veteran and well-known in the diamond industry, and that these circumstances do not support the claims of IGL that CGL “rides” on the reputation of IGL, considering the relatively short period in which IGL operates in the diamond market.

The District Court also relies on many trademarks submitted by CGL’s attorneys, whose mark consists of a circular seal structure, three capital letters in English and an accompanying inscription to the side or below the combination of the letters and the logo.

Naturally, as befits gemstone products, the combination of colors with the same symbols and letters is done in gold, black and blue, colors that symbolize prestige.

The District Court also accepted CGL’s position that the initials in the IGL sign represent the words “international gemological and laboratory” and that these are generic names which, for the most part, enjoy less protection than arbitrary names.

Under these circumstances, the District Court held that the IGL’s registered mark has a weak inherent distinctive character, and that IGL did not present any significant evidence indicating that the registered mark had required a distinctive character, meaning that the consumers are linking it to the services provided by IGL.

In conclusion, the District Court held that the triple test did not support the claim of a likelihood of confusion.

The Court also rejected the passing off claim and ruled that there is no likelihood of confusion between the services and that CGL did not prove their reputation.

Applying the balance of convenience test, the District Court has ruled that it was not convinced that the use of the CGL mark would cause irreversible damage or serious damage to IGL.

In conclusion, the District Court rejected the motion for a temporary injunction and ordered IGL to pay legal costs of NIS 9,500 to CGL.

Disclaimer: Nothing in the foregoing shall constitute any legal advice or any opinion whatsoever. This is an informative article only and it is well recommended to consult with a specialized attorney.

CGL was represented by Yossi Sivan & Co. Law Offices


The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Foreign Brand Owner was allowed to manage TM Opposition without Posting a Guarantee

Generally, the Israeli case law requires foreign companies to post guarantee before managing a litigation, including Trademark Oppositions.

A very important decision of the Israeli IP Commissioner enabled a Nederland company to manage a Trademark Opposition against a local applicant without posting a guarantee, based on its wide reputation, evidence of extensive commercial activities in Israel and the valuable registrations.

Lifestyle Equities CV a Nederland company has filed an Opposition to a trademark application filed by David Ivgi as shown below:

Lifestyle Equities CV has claimed that the requested mark is confusingly similar to their well-known and registered mark “Beverly Hills Polo Club” as shown in the below logo:

Lifestyle Equities CV has claimed that the requested mark features a polo rider on a running horse and a circle element confusingly similar to Lifestyle Equities CV’s mark.

Ivgi requested that Lifestyle Equities CV post a bank guarantee to cover the expected costs should the Opposition be denied, according to the applicable law concerning corporations.

Ivgi’s Claims:

Ivgi has claimed that Lifestyle Equities CV is a Dutch  entity and therefore it would be very difficult to collect the expenses from them, should the opposition be rejected.

Ivgi also claimed that the chances of Lifestyle Equities CV prevailing were extremely small given the visual differences between the marks, therefore a guarantee must be posted.

In addition, Ivgi claimed that Lifestyle Equities CV didn’t prove actual assets in Israel since it has failed to file an affidavit to support its claims.

Ivgi also claimed that the burden of proof lies on Lifestyle Equities CV to prove that it has enough financial capabilities.

Lifestyle Equities CV’s claims:

Lifestyle Equities CV has claimed that Ivgy’s motion must be rejected and that Ivgi is acting in bad faith trying to register this mark.

Regarding the guarantee, Lifestyle Equities CV has claimed that the Trademark Registrar has a wide discretion not to order a guarantee to cover the expenses and that actually Ivgi did not prove that Lifestyle Equities CV would have difficulty in covering the expenses if their opposition was denied.

Lifestyle Equities CV has also claimed there is no need for posting a guarantee in light of their financial capabilities and the fact the Lifestyle Equities CV was a foreign entity was not by itself a ground for requesting a guarantee.

Lifestyle Equities CV has further claimed that since it owned the well-known Beverly Hills Polo Club fashion brand, who has a very high financial value there is no risk of not covering the expenses.

Lifestyle Equities CV further claimed to have valuable assets in Israel based on the high royalties collected from its licensees in various categories.

In addition to that, Lifestyle Equities CV has claimed that it has shown a good chance of winning the opposition case.

Lifestyle Equities CV further argued that the requirement of posting a guarantee was undermining their basic (constitutional) ownership property rights to access the judicial system in Israel, relative to local companies.

Lifestyle Equities CV further claimed that Lifestyle Equities CV is a Dutch company and the Nederland is a signatory of The Hague Treaty of 1954.

The Hague Treaty of 1954 prevents discrimination against foreign companies in relation to local companies, therefor the fact that Lifestyle Equities CV is a Dutch company cannot by itself justifies posting a guarantee.

The Decision

The IP Commissioner, Mrs. Yaara Shoshana Caspi, has accepted Lifestyle Equities CV’s claims that it should not be discriminate just based on the fact the it’s a Dutch company.

Lifestyle Equities CV has managed to show a considerable financial capability, even without submitting clear evidence such as financial reports.

Lifestyle Equities CV has proved (based on its evidence) a wide commercial activity in Israel, that it has valuable brand and that its brand is well known around the world.

The Commissioner further ruled that Lifestyle Equities CV’s trademark registrations in Israel are valuable enough and considered to be a tradable asset.

In addition, the Commissioner has ruled that there is a certain similarity between Lifestyle Equities CV’s mark and the requested mark and that Lifestyle Equities CV’s claim that this could confuse customers is not baseless.

The IP Commissioner has decided that there wasn’t reasonable chance that Lifestyle Equities CV could not cover the expenses and she actually suspects the sincerity of his claims.

Finally, Ivgi’s motion was denied and costs of 1500 Shekels were awarded to Lifestyle Equities CV.

Lifestyle Equities CV was represented by Yossi Sivan & Co. law Offices

Parallel Export of Cosmetics on eBay Allowed – Denying the Manufacturer’s Attempt to Control the Distribution

Another important achievement for our firm (for the previous decision see this link) is a recent decision in a motion for a temporary injunction, this time on parallel export of Israeli cosmetic products via eBay and copyright law.

The question that was raised in this proceeding was whether an Israeli cosmetic manufacturer can prevent from an eBay store to sell its cosmetics via eBay.

Our firm represented an eBay store named Beauty Shop that has purchased cosmetic products under the brand HOLYLAND from different suppliers in Israel, including from the manufacturer, Pharma Cosmetics (HL), and marked them on eBay.

The manufacturer (HL) has filed a motion for a temporary injunction against Beauty Shop in order to prevent Beauty Shop from selling the cosmetics products on eBay. HL has also claimed for damages of NIS400,000.

HL’s Claims:

HL claimed that the sale of its cosmetics on eBay for very low prices has caused considerable damages to it brand, and also may cause the exclusive distributers of HL worldwide to cancel the distribution agreements with HL, causing irreparable damage to HL.

Furthermore, HL contended that the sale of cosmetics on eBay also constitutes a breach of a contract, based on a restriction clause that was added to some of the invoices between HL and Beauty Shop, concerning some previous direct small purchases from HL.

HL has claimed that those past invoices prohibit Beauty Shop from selling the cosmetics on eBay forever, even if those products have been legally purchased from third parties and not from HL.

In addition, HL has claimed that the use of photos of the cosmetics products and of informative texts about the products that belong to HL constitutes a copyright infringement.

Beauty Shop’s Claims:

Beauty Shop, represented by our firm, has argued that the whole purpose of the motion is to block fair competition in the market and to control prices in the cosmetics industry, ultimately causing harm to the consumers.

With regards to HL’s claim concerning the possible termination of the exclusive distribution agreements around the world, Beauty Shop has argued that these claims were groundless, that they have not been proven at all, and that in any case there is no connection between those agreements and Beauty Shop’s activities.

Beauty Shop also has claimed that no distribution agreement was made between Beauty Shop and HL concerning the limitation of distribution outside of Israel.

Beauty Shop has also claimed that the added restrictive clause on the invoices cannot substitute a distribution agreement which requires the existence of negotiations and other basic contractual terms.

Beauty Shop has also claimed that even if HL can prove any contractual distribution limitations, there is no liability on Beauty Shop’s behalf since Beauty Shop has legally purchased the cosmetics from third party suppliers, which have not been restricted to any distribution limitations, and that the sale of the cosmetics on eBay is allowed according to the Israeli Supreme Court precedent in case no. 371/89 Ilan Labovitch v. Y. Elyahu, in which “The manufacturer chooses his preferred marketing channels that he intends to market his merchandise through. The decision to whom to sell his merchandise is in his hands. Nevertheless, after the manufacturer has sold his merchandise and transferred the property ownership in it to others, he may not continue to control the distribution channels of his merchandise by virtue of his goodwill”.              

With regard to the claim of copyright infringement, Beauty Shop has argued that standard photos of cosmetics packaging or informational texts are not protected by copyright in accordance with the Merger Doctrine, especially when it comes to photos of products used for marketing purposes.

Court’s Decision:

The District Court (the Honorable Judge Magen Altuvia) rejected the Motion for a Temporary Injunction and fully accepted Beauty Shop’s claims.

With regard to the motion to prevent the cosmetics distribution on eBay, the District Court accepted Beauty Shop’s argument that the cosmetics have been purchased from third parties who were not bound by any distribution limitations, and therefore there is nothing that can prevent their distribution overseas based on the Supreme Court precedent in case no. 371/89 Ilan Labovitch v. Y. Elyahu.

In this matter the District Court has ruled the following:

“It should be noted that the identity of the respondent’s suppliers is known to the applicants (S. 21 P. 6 of the court record dated 04/20/15) and they have the option not to sell HL’s products to the respondent’s suppliers or to prohibit them from selling these products to the respondent or out of Israel. During the cross-examination, HL’s CEO has avoided answering the question: can he prevent HL’s customers, the respondent’s suppliers, from selling to the respondent, and he replied: “This is an issue” (ibid, ’23 P 6). It should be added that the CEO was then asked whether such limitation applies to the respondent’s suppliers, and he testified as follows: “I do not know. I do not think so “(ibid, S. 29, P 6). It should be added that the applicant did not attach sales invoices to the respondent’s suppliers, therefore HL did not demonstrate any prohibition of those suppliers from selling HL’s products out of Israel or to the respondent. For this reason, I do not accept the applicant’s claim as if the respondent’s suppliers could not sell the respondent the right to sell HL products out of Israel, since such a right was not in their hands (Article 22 of the respondent’s summaries). “

Regarding HL’s claims of copyright infringement, the Court has ruled that it is doubtful that using photos of products or texts that appear on the packages that where legally purchased, constitutes copyright infringement.

The Court has also contended that the chances of HL to win the case are not good and that the balance of interests lies in the favor of Beauty Shop.

Finally the District Court rejected the motion for the temporary injunction and ordered HL to pay costs of NIS39,500 to Beauty Shop.

Beauty Shop was represented by Yossi Sivan & Co.

Disclaimer
Nothing in the above shall be considered as any legal advice or any legal opinion whatsoever. This is just an informative article. We strongly recommend consulting with a professional attorney in such matters.

 

 

Does Parallel Import of Baby Strollers without Serial Numbers Constitute an Infringement of Intellectual Property rights?

Many international brands are being imported to Israel not only by the official importers, but also by Parallel importers.

As far as the consumer is concerned, as long as these products are authentic and not counterfeit, this parallel import is an acceptable and legitimate phenomenon, since it improves competition and results in lowered prices.

It is well known that brand owners are repeatedly trying to protect the interests of their local official importers by locating the source of the overseas parallel import to Israel for the purpose of stopping the parallel import and controlling the level of prices.

Locating the details of the supplier is possible through reading the bar codes and the serial numbers labels that appear on the imported products.

Does the manufacturer have any legitimate interest to prevent the removing of those serial numbers? This question has recently come up in a very interesting case ruled by the Central District Court in Israel.

Background:

STOKKE is a Norwegian Company and manufacturer of baby strollers that are distributed to many countries around the world.

Baby Love is an Israeli Company that imports STOKKE Strollers among other baby products, by parallel import.

STOKKE has filed a motion for a temporary injunction against Baby Love for importing and selling STOKKE baby strollers by parallel import without labels bearing the serial numbers of the manufacturer.

Stokke’s claims:
STOKKE argued that the original serial numbers have been removed by Baby Love and that the new labels that appear on the Baby Love strollers consist faked serial numbers.

STOKKE claimed that the sale of these parallel imported strollers is actually causing the nullification of any warranty granted by the manufacturer and preventing STOKKE from the  ability to trace the strollers for the purpose of consumer service and warranty.

STOKKE has also claimed that the Baby Love strollers are damaging its goodwill and its contractual relationships with the official importer in Israel, a company named Shem Tov.

In addition, STOKKE has claimed that these actions of Baby Love are harming its ability to perform a recall to handle any problems in the strollers.

Concerning the warranty issues, STOKKE has claimed that Baby Love’s actions are causing the consumers to think that they have purchased a STOKKE stroller with full warranty while in fact those
strollers have no official warranty by STOKKE.

STOKKE has also claimed that the removal of the serial numbers and the relabeling with faked serial numbers endangers the consumers, plain and simple.

Baby Love’s Claims:
Baby Love represented by Yossi Sivan & Co. has argued that the real purpose of the motion for injunction was to unlawfully block the commercial activity of Baby Love as a parallel importer in order to prevent competition in the market and to exaggerate the prices of the strollers with no interference.

Baby Love has argued that it doesn’t remove the labels, but purchases the strollers AS IS from the supplier outside Israel, that the parallel imported strollers are identical to the strollers imported by the official importer of STOKKE and that they are sold at lower prices compared to the strollers imported by Shem Tov.

Baby Love has also argued that the removal of the serial numbers is a consequence of the fact that STOKKE is trying to trace the origin of the strollers in order to prevent the parallel import to Israel, forcing the supplier to remove the labels.

Baby Love has also claimed that STOKKE is trying to trace the origin of the strollers in order to prevent the parallel import, to control the prices of the strollers and to dictate exaggerated prices, extremely harming the competition.

In addition, Baby Love has argued that the manufacturer has no legitimate right to control the distribution of the strollers and in fact, STOKKE has exhausted its rights after it sold the strollers to some supplier around the world according to the rules of exhaustion of intellectual property rights.

Baby Love has claimed that the interest lying in the parallel import by preventing STOKKE from tracing the details of the supplier overrides the interest of STOKKE to control the market and to exaggerate prices by blocking the market.

In addition, Baby Love has claimed that the strollers are not required to any recall according to the regulations of the Standards Institution of Israel and that the strollers are not products that require a safety standards such as safety chairs for cars.

Baby Love has also clarified that there is no misleading of the consumer since the name of the parallel importer appears all over the purchasing documentation and that the consumer knows that it is a product of parallel import.

Court’s Decision:
The Central District Court has denied the motion for the temporary injunction and ruled that allegedly there is no misleading of the consumer and that the consumer is aware that he is purchasing a parallel imported stroller and that the warranty is given by the parallel importer not by the official importer.

The court also ruled that Baby Love doesn’t remove the original labels and doesn’t fake the original labels but sticks on different labels that include its own serial numbers according to the regulations of the Standards Institute of Israel.

The court has also mentioned the active involvement of the official importer of STOKKE which implies that most of the claimed damage arising from the parallel import activity is the commercial damage of the official importer, not STOKKE.

The court also has clarified that parallel import is a positive phenomenon in its essence in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in case No. 7629/12 TOMMY HILFIGER V. Swisa and that the recognition of the legitimacy of parallel import is based on the doctrine of the exhaustion of intellectual property rights which is well based and obvious.

The District Court has also mentioned the proposed bill of the Restrictive Trade Practices Law (Antitrust Law) (removal of import barriers 2015) applying limitations that would prevent official importers from the exploitation of their status and abuse of their rights by opposing parallel importers.

The court also rejected the comparison between the number on a motor vehicle chassis to the serial number sticker on a stroller and determined that this comparison indicates the weakness in STOKKEs arguments.

The court has also rejected the claim that the removal of the labels (bar codes) “endangers the public” and ruled that this claim is very farfetched and lacks evidential basis.

Ultimately the Court dismissed the Motion of Temporary Injunction and ordered STOKKE to pay Baby Love expenses worth 15,000NIS and to deposit a guaranty of 75,000NIS within 20 days otherwise the lawsuit will be dismissed.

Although this decision is a temporary decision, it still constitutes a great victory for free competition and the legitimacy of parallel import in Israel.

Baby Love was represented by Yossi Sivan & Co. Law Offices

Disclaimer
Nothing in the above shall be considered as any legal advice or any legal opinion whatsoever. This is just an informative article. We strongly recommend consulting with a professional attorney in such matters.