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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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MONDAY, 30 JUNE 2008
Spain – The Spanish Supreme Court rejects the registration of “BANK ON LINE” (plus device) for class 36.

In a recently published Judgment of 9 April 2008, the Spanish Supreme Court declared that the Spanish trade mark BANK ON LINE (and device) in class 36 (insurance services, financial services, banking services, amongst others) cannot be registered as it lacks distinctiveness.

In accordance with the resolution of the Spanish Patents and Trade Marks Office, and reversing the previous ruling of the High Court of Madrid (which acted as the first judicial instance), the Spanish Supreme Court considered that BANK ON LINE” did not merit registration in class 36 as it “evidently” referred to a characteristic of the services to be rendered by the trade mark owner (a bank), and thus fell within the scope of the absolute grounds of refusal stipulated under Spanish Trade Mark Act.

The ruling correctly considers that Spanish consumers have sufficient command of English to translate this foreign expression correctly The Spanish Supreme Court has normally been reluctant to dismiss registration of foreign words/expressions on the grounds of lack of distinctiveness. The argument normally applied in these cases (which clearly needs updating) is that foreign words are not understood by Spanish consumers and amount to be “fantasy trade marks” (and are therefore registrable).

Posted by: Ignacio Marques @ 12.44
Tags: absolute grounds for refusal, distinctiveness, foreign words, Spain,
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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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