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Switzerland: LAND ROVER defeats LAND GLIDER

Land Rover, the British manufacturer of off-road vehicles, finally wins its opposition against Nissan Motor's LAND GLIDER mark in Switzerland. Both marks claim protection for vehicles in Nice class 12. The Swiss Intellectual Property Office dismissed the opposition, essentially arguing that despite the well-knowness of the older mark LAND ROVER, Land Rover could not be granted exclusive rights in the term LAND for vehicles.

On appeal, the Federal Administrative Court reversed. It held that the high recognition of the older mark LAND ROVER was notorious (i.e., needed no further proof). The recognition extended to the whole mark, LAND ROVER, and not only to ROVER, even though LAND was arguably descriptive for (land) vehicles. The fact that Land Rover had also registered the mark ROVER and RANGE ROVER did not change this assessment. Given the similarities of the signs, the essentially identical goods and LAND ROVER's status as well-known mark, there was a risk that the public would assume that LAND GLIDER was a variant of a LAND ROVER, creating a likelihood of confusion (well...).

Nissan Motors argued in vain that there were other marks for vehicles that contained LAND. As is long standing practice, it is not enough to demonstrate dilution to point to registrations containing the same term. What is required is actual use of other marks containing the same term, and this had not been shown.

Decision B-4829/2012 of 28 July 2014 (German summary with link to full text). The decision is final.

PS: picture shows the author (in the tasteful shirt) checking whether a LAND ROVER, which wasn't roving anymore through the Masai Mara of Kenya, still had an engine.

Posted by: Mark Schweizer @ 21.10
Tags: Switzerland, relative grounds of refusal,
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