In Case T-515/11, Delphi Technologies, Inc., applied for registration of the word mark INNOVATION FOR THE REAL WORLD for the following goods in Class 7 – ‘Motor vehicle products, namely fuel management systems and components, ignition systems and components, and emission control systems and components’; Class 9 – ‘GPS navigation systems, radios, audio and sound systems and parts and accessories’; Class 10 – ‘Medical apparatus and instruments for vital signs monitoring, for controlling medical infusions, and for the restoration and improvement of the respiratory function’; and Class 12 – ‘Motor vehicle products, namely braking systems and components, suspension systems and components, steering systems and components, powertrain suspension mounting systems, air bags, seat belts, shock absorbers and drive units for land vehicles’.
The General Court confirmed the rejection of registration by OHIM examiner and the Board of appeal according to Article 7(1) b) CTMR. The public is composed of English-speaking professionals, for the goods in Classes 7, 10 and 12, and the English-speaking general public, for the goods in Class 9.
In the light of the nature of the goods in question, the awareness of the relevant public – professionals or general public – was ‘relatively high’. However, despite the generally high level of awareness of the general public, that awareness could be relatively low when it came to promotional indications, which well-informed consumers did not see as decisive.
The expression ‘innovation for the real world’ would be understood by the relevant public, without interpretation, as a laudatory message that the goods delivered by the applicant were innovations for the real world. The meaning of that expression was even clearer since the goods concerned pertained to a market where innovation is essential. Furthermore, nothing in the expression ‘innovation for the real world’, beyond its promotional meaning, would enable the relevant public to memorise the mark applied for easily and instantly as a distinctive mark.
Indeed, the mark applied for was not a play on words and was not imaginative, surprising or unexpected. According to the Board of Appeal, that analysis did not contradict the judgment in Case C‑398/08PAudivOHIMin so far as, in the present case, the mark applied for was not rejected because it was a promotional slogan, but because it was a banal slogan. Finally, the Board of Appeal explained that, in theAudivOHIMcase, the slogan was widely known as a consequence of its use over many years, which was not the case here.