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Bottle shock: Artesa Napa Valley v. Arteso

In its judgment T-35/08, the General Court confirmed that were was likelihood of confusion in the meaning of Article 8 (1) (b) CTMR for identical goods in Class 33, namely wines, between the following signs:


Earlier sign


Contested CTM 

In disagreement with the 4th Board of appeal’s analysis regarding the visual comparison, it held that the similar word element ARTESA/ARTESO in the two marks does not constitute the dominant element and that the signs differ greatly in shape, size and colour of their graphic element. The word element 'Napa Valley’, given its position and size of letters, is a secondary element.

Nevertheless, there is a strong phonetic similarity since Napa Valley, for the English-speaking consumer, is perceived as an indication of geographical origin of the goods and not as a distinctive element, the consumer will merely say the word 'Artesa'.

Conceptually, the representation of a centaur straddled by a rider carrying a staff with amphorae alludes to the mythical origins of wine and its production in the earlier sign. It cannot be said that the contested sign alludes to an idea of modernity which will immediately be grasped by the public; thus there are no perceptible conceptual connotations which establishes a difference or similarity between the signs.

In the wines sector, in particular bars and restaurants, the products are primarily ordered orally after having seen their name on the wine list, thus greater weight will be attributed to phonetic similarity.

Furthermore, even if it is clear that the contested goods are produced in Napa valley (try claiming it is not indication of origin with the following good description “wines produced and bottled in Napa Valley (California, USA)), there may be likelihood of confusion even where the public perception is that goods are produced in different places.

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 11.48
Tags: wine, General Court, Article 8 (1) b),
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