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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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General Court: 2 lines, 4 and 5 stars

In joined cases T-687/13, Unibail Management applied for the following figurative signs for various goods and services in Classes 16, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, 42 and 43.

OHIM’s examiner and the Board of Appeal rejected the trademark applications on the Article 7 (1) b) CTMR absolute grounds for lack of distinctive character.  In particular, it held that in view of all products and all services involved, the marks applied for contained no element which could differentiate them from other representations of stars and lines and attract specifically the public’s attention. The great simplicity of the decorative pattern could not be seen as sufficient nuance to allow the relevant public to identify the commercial origin of the goods and services concerned. Specifically for the products and services in Classes 16, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41 and 42, it noted that the mark applied for would inform the relevant public that such products and such services had a level of quality worthy of the label "four star" or may have been rewarded with a label of the highest quality, luxury, or even that they enjoyed high prestige. In this regard, it noted that the use of stars was not limited to hotel services, but encountered in other sectors. OHIM relied, in this context, the practical experience generally acquired.

However, the General Court annulled the BoA’s decision because the Board failed to examine the distinctive character of the signs in relation to each good and service and only adopted an overall motivation. The GC sent it to back to OHIM for further examination.

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 12.00
Tags: General court, absolute grounds, 4 star, 5 stars, article 7 (1) b),
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