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Supreme Court of Denmark

Right to register and use the name Broadcom 

Case no. 96/2006
Judgment 25. March 2010
 

Broadcom ApS (formerly BC Drift ApS)

and

Broadcom Bolignet ApS

vs

Broadcom Corporation

Right to register and use the name Broadcom

BC Drift ApS was founded on 1 January 2004. On 20 April 2004, Broadcom ApS was registered as a secondary name, and today it is used as the company's main name. Broadcom ApS's object is to provide service and consultancy within telecommunications, and in 2004, the company had the trade mark Broadcom registered in class 38, telecommunications. The company offers data, Internet and telecom services for business and private customers. On 1 June 2004, Broadcom ApS founded a new company under the name of Broadcom Bolignet ApS. This company also offers broadband services, including Internet and telephony. Broadcom ApS uses Broadcom as its business identifier in the form of a trademark, company name and domain name.

In 1999, the American company Broadcom Corporation had the word Broadcom registered as a Community trade mark in classes 9 and 42, comprising, among other things, sale and service within computer hardware, computer networks and the Internet. This company sued the two Danish companies claiming that they be banned from registering and using the word Broadcom as a business identifier and claiming payment and compensation for unauthorised use of the name.

The Supreme Court stated that Broadcom ApS's business identifier Broadcom was identical with Broadcom Corporation's community trade mark, just as there was a high degree of similarity between Broadcom Bolignet ApS's business identifier Broadcom Bolignet and Broadcom Corporations' trade mark. In addition, on the evidence, the High Court based its decision on the facts that Broadcom ApS's and Broadcom Bolignet ApS's business areas and customers are materially different from those of Broadcom Corporation, but that Broadcom Corporation's trade mark was registered for products and services that must be regarded as being complementary to and significantly similar to Broadcom ApS's and Broadcom Bolignet ApS's services. Also in this connection, the Supreme Court gave importance to the fact that the trade barriers between telecommunications activities and activities involving the sale and service of computer hardware and software have generally been eroding.

The Supreme Court ruled that Broadcom A/S's and Broadcom Bolignet ApS's use of the trade mark Broadcom could be prohibited under Article 9 of the Regulation on the Community trade mark. Consequently, the two companies were ordered to cancel the company names Broadcom ApS and Broadcom Bolignet ApS as well as the domain name broadcom.dk, just as the companies were ordered to pay DKK 100,000 and DKK 25,000, respectively, in accordance with S. 43 of the Danish Trade Marks Act.
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