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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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KNUD sees off KNUT's appeal
The General Court of the European Union gave judgment today in Case T-250/10 Knut IP Management Ltd v OHIM, in a decision which has been neatly summarised by a Curia media release which reads, in relevant part, as follows:

Knut is the name of a famous polar bear, born on 5 December 2006 in Berlin Zoo, which enjoyed wide coverage in the media in Germany and beyond. In April 2007, the British undertaking Knut IP Management Ltd applied to the Community trade mark office (OHIM) for registration of the word sign KNUT – DER EISBÄR as a Community trade mark for, inter alia, paper and cardboard goods, clothing, shoes and helmets, sports articles and activities. 

Berlin Zoo (Zoo Berlin) opposed that application by claiming that there is a likelihood of confusion with the earlier trade mark KNUD, for which it holds a licence, and which is registered in Germany for, inter alia, books, games, toys and dolls. A likelihood of confusion exists where the public could believe that the goods or services with respect to which the trade marks at issue are used come from the same undertaking or from economically-linked undertakings.

OHIM upheld that opposition. As a result, first, of the similarity of the signs KNUD and KNUT – DER EISBÄR, and, secondly, of the identity or at least similarity of the goods and services at issue, there exists indeed a likelihood of confusion in German-speaking regions. By today’s judgment, the Court dismisses the action which Knut IP Management Ltd brought against the decision of OHIM.

In the light of the fact that, first, the goods and services at issue are, in part, identical and, in part, similar and, secondly, that the disputed signs, considered as a whole, have major similarities as a result, inter alia, of the fact that the relevant public will remember in particular the identical beginning of the trade marks, in this case, the elements ‘knud’ and ‘knut’, OHIM could validly conclude that there does not exist, on the part of the relevant public, a sufficient difference between those signs allowing any likelihood of confusion between the earlier mark and the mark applied for to be avoided.

The judgment is currently available only in French and German.  If anyone has an excellent and reliable English version, Class 46 will be delighted to make it more generally available.
Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 21.31
Tags: Community trade marks, similarity, likelihood of confusion,
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