RatPac does not infringe on Rat Pack
As part of global litigation between the German film producer Rat Pack Filmproduktion and the US film financer RatPac Entertainment, Rat Pack sued RatPac in the Netherlands due to an allegedly bad faith Benelux trademark application, as well as infringement on its tradename rights in the Netherlands. On 9 October 2019, the District Court of The Hague decided fully in favour of Brinkhof client RatPac.
No bad faith trademark registration
The disputed Benelux trademark registration of RatPac was the result of a converted European Union Trade Mark application, causing the priority date of the Benelux trademark registration to be the date of the initial EUTM application. The Court ruled that this priority date is therefore the benchmark for the assessment of bad faith. Going into that assessment, the Court noted that no evidence was submitted that would support a finding of bad faith at that time. After all, nothing showed that RatPac would actively seek to prevent Rat Pack from using its name in the Netherlands.
No tradename rights or infringement
Next up: alleged infringement on Rat Pack’s tradename rights in the Netherlands. RatPac denied that Rat Pack’s evidence of use of its name in the Netherlands would lead to tradename rights in the first place. Here too, the Court sided with RatPac. The evidence filed by Rat Pack did not show use that would amount to a reputation of such extent that it could be protected as a tradename under Dutch law.
Even if the evidence filed would lead to a finding of protection as a tradename under Dutch law, the Court found that this would only result in a limited scope of protection. Rat Pack did not argue why actual (risk of) confusion would exist, even though RatPac did argue that no actual confusion between the two companies existed as the one is a smaller German children’s film producer and the other is a larger film financer for Hollywood blockbuster movies. The Court also held that the names RatPac and Rat Pack show striking differences that lead to a finding of no likelihood of confusion between the two.