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General Court: Coto de Gomariz v EL COTO

In Case T-276/10, the Opponent El Coto de Rioja S.A. brought a cancellation action on the grounds of Article 8 (1) (b) CTMR on the basis of its earlier rights COTO DE IMAZ and EL COTO against the applied for figurative CTM:


The Cancellation Division had found a likelihood of confusion for the identical goods ‘wines’ in Class 33. The Board of Appeal annulled the contested decision and held that the signs had a low degree of similarity, in particular because the word ‘COTO’ has a weak distinctive character in respect of the registered goods since it refers to a ‘delimited land to grow grapes used to produce wine’ and thus the figurative element in the contested CTM as well as additional words IMAZ and GOMARIZ possibly understood as qualifying surnames, compensate greatly for the coincidence in the word COTO.

The General Court annulled the Board of Appeal’s decision on the grounds that according to the Spanish dictionary of the Real Academia Española the term COTO does not exclusively refer to the lexical vocabulary of ‘wine production’ but also means among others ‘boundary stone’. Therefore the Board wrongly excluded to take into account the term COTO in the comparison of the signs which therefore have a certain degree of overall similarity. Furthermore in previous Judgment T-332/04 ('Coto d’Arcis'), the Court had already considered the higher degree of distinctiveness of the earlier rights for the Spanish consumer, and thus a likelihood of confusion cannot be excluded between the trademarks in question.

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 09.47
Tags: General Court, likelihood of confusion, El coto, Coto de Gomariz,
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