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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
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Luba against Lunajob: likelihood of confusion?

On 20 February 2008 the District Court in The Hague decided a trade mark infringement case between two temporary employment agencies. The plaintif (LUBA Groep) owned several LUBA trade marks for temporary employment services. Furthermore LUBA is protected as a trade name according to the Dutch Trade Name Act. The trade mark LUBA is a contraction of Lugdunnum (a former Roman colony in Gaul) and Batavorum (the Roman place name for the Dutch city of Nijmegen). Luba Groep claimed that the signs LUNA Uitzendburo (Uitzendburo is the Dutch word for a temporary employment agency) and LUNAJOB infringe the LUBA trade mark/trade name. The defendant acknowledged in court that LUNA Uitzendburo is to be regarded as an infringing sign and therefore an injunction with regard to this sign was granted.

With regard to the use of the sign LUNAJOB the District Court began with a visual, oral and conceptual comparison of the signs at hand. The visual similarity was found to be marginal because only the first, second and fourth characters were similar, while the visual differences between the signs outweighed the similarity. The pronouncement of the sign LUNAJOB was ruled to be substantially different to LUBA's, because of the addition of the word JOB. The District Court ruled that there was no similarity at all on the conceptual level. The relevant public will perceive the sign LUNAJOB as a contraction of the Italian word LUNA (moon) and the English word JOB, while the contraction of Lugdunnum and Batavorum, has no such meaning for the public.

After the comparison of the signs the District Court dealt with the confusion issue. LUNAJOB differed sufficiently from LUBA to exclude the risk of confusion. Additionally the District Court recorded that there was no actual evidence supporting the alleged confusion. LUNAJOB was in use since 2001. The trade mark claims of LUBA Groep as well as the claims based on the Trade Name Act - for which likelihood of confusion is also necessary - were therefore denied.

And so the moon keeps on shining over Lugdunnum Batavorum.

Posted by: Gino Van Roeyen @ 12.54
Tags: Benelux trade marks, trade mark infringement,
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