MONDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2010
Poland: GUCCI v. GUCIO
On 27 January 2007, the Polish Patent Office granted the right of protection for GUCIO trade mark R-187648 for goods in Class 25 such as children's shoes.
Guccio Gucci S.p.A. the owner of inter alia word-figurative trade marks GUCCI R-181633 and GUCCI R-184796 gave a notice of opposition to a final decision of the PPO on the grant of a right of protection to GUCIO trade mark. While proving the reputation of GUCCI trade mark, the Italian company stressed the fact that it owns many stores, where high-quality clothing and footwear is sold and it also includes shoes for children. The customers of these stores are known and influential people. The company argued that since the mid-twentieth century, the Gucci brand and products bearing this trade mark are associated with the highest quality and luxury - Gucci has become sort of "certificate of quality." The Company pointed out that Gucci fashion house brings together leading, world fashion designers thus have a substantial impact on global fashion trends. Consequently, the goods that are marked with this symbol appear in numerous television programs, shows and magazines on fashion. GUCCI argued that similar trade marks in conjunction with the homogenity of goods for which these signs are clearly intended, may to lead to the risk of their association, and even confusion by customers, and this causes the possibility of customer confusion as to the origin of goods.
Sławomir Piwowarczyk, the holder of GUCIO trade mark argued that that the word GUCIO is a diminution of GUSTAW. The PPO dismissed the opposition. GUCCI filed a complaint against this decision.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 August 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 807/10 dismissed the complaint and held that dissimilar signs cannot lead to customers’ associations, so there can be no issue of imitation, and conscious deriving of benefits from someone else's reputation. The correct view is that there is no similarity between the signs which makes unnecessary the considerations on the use of another person's reputation, as the "precondition" of accepting that the use of reputation has been made, is to identify similarities between the trade marks, while the second condition is to establish that the trade mark has a reputation. The judgment is not final yet.
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