Volvo Trademark Holding AB prevails in its appeal against the OHIM's dismissal of its opposition against the registration of the figurative mark "solvo" (depicted above) in Classes 9, 39 and 42 of the Nice Agreement. Both OHIM and the Board of Appeal had dismissed the opposition because the trade marks VOLVO and "solvo" (fig.) were not similar.
The CFI - sorry, General Court - disagreed. The two trade marks were at least phonetically similar. The Board of Appeal was therefore required to carry out a global assessment of the likelihood of confusion, which it failed to do.
Volvo also prevailed with its second plea, claiming a violation of art. 8(5) of Regulation No 40/94 (protection of marks with a reputation). The Court notes that no likelihood of confusion is necessary to prevail under art. 8(5), a mere link between the younger mark and the mark with a reputation suffices. Since the Board of Appeal's incorrect assessment of lack of similarity between the two marks led it to conclude that no link was established, it misapplied art. 8(5).