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General Court: Metro v. Mero Kids Company 1989

In Case T-50/12, the General Court upheld the finding of likelihood of confusion between the following marks:

Contested CTM

Earlier International Mark




–Class 24: ‘Fabrics’;

–Class 25: ‘Articles of clothing’;

–Class 39: ‘Transport, packaging and storage of leatherware, jewellery, clothing and footwear’.

–Class 24: ‘Woven fabrics, textile products, namely, textile fabrics, curtains, roller-blinds, household linen, table and bed linen; bedspreads and tablecloths, furnishing fabrics and fabrics for decoration purposes’;

–Class 25: ‘Clothing, including shoes, boots, slippers and headgear’;

–Class 39: ‘Transport services, in particular delivery of parcels and goods, services of a forwarding agent (transport of goods), a freight agent, a haulage business (transport of goods) and a transport agent, delivery of mail‑order goods, packaging and storage of goods; organisation of travels and services of a travel agency; replenishment of sales racks and shelves; provision of information on storage; parking space services’.

The relevant territory is Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia and consists of the public at large in those States displaying an average level of attentiveness.

Next, the goods in Classes 24, 25 and 39 covered by the trade mark application and by the earlier trade mark are identical.

The Board of Appeal correctly found, with regard to the visual similarity between the signs, given its complete lack of meaning in relation to the goods and services concerned, the element ‘metro’ is distinctive, whereas the other word elements which form the mark applied for – namely ‘kids’, ‘company’, ‘est.’, ‘1989’ and ‘trade mark’ – are elements with low distinctiveness, since they contain information about the target public, namely children, in the word ‘kids’; the date on which the undertaking was set up, in the words ‘company’, ‘est.’ and ‘1989’; and the fact that the mark is, allegedly, protected, in the words ‘trade mark’. In addition, the coat of arms, which contains various emblems, is not particularly imaginative and will rather be perceived as a decorative element, although it is easily discernable due to its size

Regarding the aural similarity between the signs, it should be noted that the consumers targeted will also tend not to pronounce the last elements of the expression ‘metro kids company’ simply to economise on words, since those elements, which are not distinctive in relation to the goods covered, are easy to separate from the most distinctive element of the mark applied for, namely the word ‘metro’.

Lastly, in view of the visual and aural similarities between the signs at issue and despite the inappositeness of any conceptual comparison, the Board of Appeal rightly concluded that there was a likelihood of confusion and, mainly, a likelihood of association between the signs at issue.

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 17.37
Tags: General Court, likelihood of confusion, metro, metro kids company,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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