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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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Portugal: Karting Algarve

MUNDO DO KARTING applied for the registration of the nominative sign “KARTING ALGARVE” for theme parks. PARKALGARVE, the owner of the trade mark “KARTÓDROMO INTERNACIONAL ALGARVE” (sign on the right), covering, amongst others, the operation of sports facilities, opposed such registration on relative grounds.However, INPI did not need to assess the likelihood of confusion between the signs, as it found that the sign was devoid of any distinctive character.

MUNDO DO KARTING appealed such decision to the Intellectual Property Court. In its judgement (see Intellectual Property Bulletin no. 163/2014, of 27 August, available here), the Court affirmed INPI’s decision, despite the appellant claiming that the sign had acquired a distinctive character.

The appellant claimed that it had been using the sign for the past 20 years. However, the provided evidence (company’s communications and e-mails, the domain name www.kartingalgarve.com and divulgation in press, television and internet) was considered insufficient by the IPC. The Court further stated that the evidence had to show that the sign was recognised by a significant part of the public of the national territory. It would not be enough to demonstrate that the trade mark was recognised as such by the population of Algarve.

Still, the Court decided to the address the relative grounds issue. While doing so, it found that even if it had decided that the applied trade mark had acquired a distinctive character, the registration had to be refused as the opposing signs were graphically and conceptually similar and there was similarity between the covered services, which would result in a likelihood of confusion between the signs.

Posted by: Pedro Malaquias @ 17.13
Tags: Portugal, Absolute Grounds, Relative Grounds, Intellectual Property Court,
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