Two recent decisions of the Court of Justice and the Belgian Court of Cassation have recently completed the existing case law on comparative advertising in the food industry.
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Areas of Practice
Grégory provides strategic, business-oriented advice and has litigation skills under IP law, food law, market practices, product regulation and commercial disputes.
Grégory regularly advises and represents clients before national and EU courts in these matters. This practice includes administrative negotiations and procedures. He has gained experience in advising clients in a range of business sectors including food, pharma, cosmetics, fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications and media.
Grégory has written numerous articles on Belgian and EU food law and IP law, including an authoritative book in 2016 on advertising and labelling of foodstuffs under Belgian and EU law. He is general reporter of the International League of Competition Law and the Belgian Association on competition law and gives regularly lectures at conferences and universities.
- Represented a EU retailer on the largest cartel investigation ever in Belgium regarding DPH products (drugstore, perfume, and hygienic products) where six supermarkets and eleven manufacturers were accused of having made price agreements ("hub & spoke") for DPH products.
- Represented number of previous commercial agents of telecom operators in proceedings and negotiations relating to the termination of agency agreements by the telecom operator regarding the distribution of internet and fixed and mobile phone services.
- Represented a French parcels company in several proceedings, including summary proceedings and proceedings on the merits, before the Belgian courts in the context of termination of an exclusive outsourcing agreement regarding the distribution of parcels in Belgium.
- Represents trademark and copyright owners in descriptive seizures, cease and desist proceedings and damage claims regarding unlawful exploitation of their protected trademarks and works.
- Represented a major Belgian retailer in proceedings regarding a comparative advertising case on general price level in supermarkets.
- Represented a major cable and telecom operator in several disputes with competitors involving comparative advertising in respect of “triple play” offers.
- Regularly advises food producers and communications agencieson all legal aspects of their marketing campaigns, including intellectual property, consumer protection and unfair trade practices.
- Represented a major Belgian retailer in trademark proceedings regarding parallel imports where the trademark holder uses a selective distribution system.
- Represent a Belgian brewer in opposition proceedings before EUIPO against Spanish brewer regarding a trademark filed for beer.
- Represented an American company of home products in the protection of its distribution network against internet pure players, including through trademark mechanisms.
There are many particulars which must appear on the packaging of prepackaged foodstuffs sold to consumers. This obligation is regulated at EU level through Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers.
Two recent decisions of the European Courts confirm the difficulty of protecting forms of products by trademark law. This article examines these difficulties and the alternatives available to companies concerning shape marks.