IP case law Court of Justice

Bad faith application

Article 51(1)(b) CTM Regulation
Article 4(4)(g) Directive 2008/95

3 preliminary rulings

Judgment of 29 Jan 2020, C-371/18 (Sky and Others)

Articles 7 and 51 of Council Regulation (EC) No 40/94 of 20 December 1993 on the Community trade mark, as amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 1891/2006 of 18 December 2006, and Article 3 of First Council Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks must be interpreted as meaning that a Community trade mark or a national trade mark cannot be declared wholly or partially invalid on the ground that terms used to designate the goods and services in respect of which that trade mark was registered lack clarity and precision.

Article 51(1)(b) of Regulation No 40/94, as amended by Regulation No 1891/2006, and Article 3(2)(d) of First Directive 89/104 must be interpreted as meaning that a trade mark application made without any intention to use the trade mark in relation to the goods and services covered by the registration constitutes bad faith, within the meaning of those provisions, if the applicant for registration of that mark had the intention either of undermining, in a manner inconsistent with honest practices, the interests of third parties, or of obtaining, without even targeting a specific third party, an exclusive right for purposes other than those falling within the functions of a trade mark. When the absence of the intention to use the trade mark in accordance with the essential functions of a trade mark concerns only certain goods or services referred to in the application for registration, that application constitutes bad faith only in so far as it relates to those goods or services.

First Directive 89/104 must be interpreted as not precluding a provision of national law under which an applicant for registration of a trade mark must state that the trade mark is being used in relation to the goods and services in relation to which it is sought to register the trade mark, or that he or she has a bona fide intention that it should be so used, in so far as the infringement of such an obligation does not constitute, in itself, a ground for invalidity of a trade mark already registered.

Judgment of 27 Jun 2013, C-320/12 (Malaysia Dairy)

Article 4(4)(g) of Directive 2008/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks must be interpreted as meaning that the concept of ‘bad faith’, within the meaning of that provision, is an autonomous concept of European Union law which must be given a uniform interpretation in the European Union.

Article 4(4)(g) of Directive 2008/95 must be interpreted as meaning that, in order to permit the conclusion that the person making the application for registration of a trade mark is acting in bad faith within the meaning of that provision, it is necessary to take into consideration all the relevant factors specific to the particular case which pertained at the time of filing the application for registration. The fact that the person making that application knows or should know that a third party is using a mark abroad at the time of filing his application which is liable to be confused with the mark whose registration has been applied for is not sufficient, in itself, to permit the conclusion that the person making that application is acting in bad faith within the meaning of that provision.

Article 4(4)(g) of Directive 2008/95 must be interpreted as meaning that it does not allow Member States to introduce a system of specific protection of foreign marks which differs from the system established by that provision and which is based on the fact that the person making the application for registration of a mark knew or should have known of a foreign mark.

Judgment of 11 Jun 2009, C-529/07 (Lindt)

In order to determine whether the applicant is acting in bad faith within the meaning of Article 51(1)(b) of Council Regulation (EC) No 40/94 of 20 December 1993 on the Community trade mark, the national court must take into consideration all the relevant factors specific to the particular case which pertained at the time of filing the application for registration of the sign as a Community trade mark, in particular: – the fact that the applicant knows or must know that a third party is using, in at least one Member State, an identical or similar sign for an identical or similar product capable of being confused with the sign for which registration is sought; – the applicant’s intention to prevent that third party from continuing to use such a sign; and – the degree of legal protection enjoyed by the third party’s sign and by the sign for which registration is sought.

6 appeals

Judgment of 13 Nov 2019, C-528/18 (Outsource Professional Services v EUIPO)


Judgment of 12 Sep 2019, C-104/18 (Koton Mağazacilik Tekstil Sanayi ve Ticaret AŞ)


Judgment of 6 Sep 2018, C-488/16 (Bundesverband Souvenir - Geschenke - Ehrenpreise v EUIPO)


Order of 14 Dec 2017, C-101/17 (Verus Eood v EUIPO)


Order of 11 May 2017, C-639/16 (Foodcare - EUIPO)


Order of 7 Feb 2013, C-266/12 (Feng Shen Technology)



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