In Cases T-230/08 and T-231/08 Paul Asenbaum v OHIM the General Court dismissed the appeals brought against two decisions from the 4th Board of Appeal which upheld the examiner’s decision to refuse registration of the word marks “WIENER WERKSTÄTTE” ( in English: Viennese Workshop) on the grounds of Article 7(1)(c) and (b): the expression is descriptive of the characteristics of the applied for goods in Classes 6, 11, 14, 16, 20, 21 and 34 for the German-speaking public.
The Viennese Workshop is a famous artist movement created in Vienna in the early 20th century, well-known for its specific design style for all sorts of utility and decorative objects (furniture, glass works, ceramics, metal works, jewelry, fashion etc), some of which were mass-produced for everyday use, as explained in the documents submitted before the Board. The special 100th anniversary celebration contributed to the ‘omnipresence’ of this expression and style associated with it for all kinds of objects used in daily life. Thus, even the average consumer not familiar with art history, would associate this expression with the particular design style.
The Court rejected the applicant’s argument that the goods are not produced in Vienna and thus would not be descriptive of the origin, since it is nevertheless descriptive of the characteristics, i.e.: of an art design style. It confirmed the Board’s holding that the use of that expression on the CTM products, which are similar to the ones produced by the Viennese Workshop back in the old days, will be associated by the relevant public as describing a particular design.
Composed by Laetitia Lagarde (Jacobacci), who is joining the Class 46 team and taking responsibility for covering developments in the General Court of the European Union.