The General Court upheld the decision from the BoA, rejecting the appeal brought by the CTM owner of the mark BINGO SHOWALL, which was opposed on the grounds of Article 8(1) (b) CTMR on the basis of earlier figurative CTM
In case T-179/10, the Court confirmed that the contested goods in Class 9, 28 and 41 were identical or similar to the earlier goods for the average consumer, rejecting the appellant’s argument that users of computer programs and related services, may use technical English terms such as ‘software’, ‘hardware’ or ‘stick’, but these goods did not require the consumer to have a full understanding of the English language.
Regarding the signs, BINGO in the contested CTM will be perceived by the relevant public as a reference to the game of chance and will have a low distinctive character for the goods and services relating to games. Thus, the trademarks have at least a low degree of visual and phonetic similarity since the contested CTM is present in the earlier trademark, that is all the letters S-H-O-W-A-L-L; the figurative elements of the earlier mark – in bold and underlined- do not have any influence in the comparison of signs. As for the conceptual comparison, the earlier sign has the word ‘Show’ which is a well-known word, even by the consumers in non English-speaking member states, however it is not certain that the consumer knows the meaning of the word ‘Ball’. Indeed, in Spanish, the equivalents ‘balon’ or ‘pelota’ do not have much resemblance to the English word. What’s more, some words derived from English, such as ‘football’ and ‘volleybal’ have become ‘fútbol’ and ‘voleibol’. It results that from some European consumers, the earlier mark will only be perceived as some reference to SHOW, but not necessarily related to a BALL.
Therefore, there is likelihood of confusion for the public, which understands very little English or none, for whom the elements SHOWALL and the sign SHOW BALL, share the common concept of SHOW, the element ‘bingo’ cannot counteract the visual and phonetic similarities.