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TOP Logistics BV v. Bacardi & Company Ltd - (16 Jul 2015)

Release of goods for free circulation under a duty suspension arrangement can constitute unauthorised use of trademark

Intellectual Property Rights

The European Court of Justice held in a preliminary ruling that goods placed under a duty suspension arrangement are regarded as imported and the trademark of the owner of the goods comes into “use in the course of trade”. In the instant case, goods sent by Bacardi were warehoused with TOP Logistics in Rotterdam (Netherlands). Subsequently, some of the goods in the customs suspension arrangement were released for free circulation and were placed under the duty suspension arrangement. The Court determined that the provision of a warehouse service for goods bearing another’s trademark does not constitute use of the trademark. However, placing the goods under the duty suspension arrangement constituted use of the trademark in the course of trade and the owner of the trademark could oppose a party placing the goods under the duty suspension arrangement.


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