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CLASS 46


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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FRIDAY, 18 MARCH 2016
General Court : Minicargo v Mini

In Case T-160/15 the General Court dismissed the appeal in the following opposition  ase:

LG Developpement - CTM applicant

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG - Opponent

Image not found

MINI

Class 12 ‘Apparatus for locomotion by land, namely trailers’

Class 12 'Land vehicles; parts, components and accessories for all the aforesaid goods’.

 

The Opposition Division rejected the opposition. The Fourth BOA of OHIM annulled the OD’s decision on the ground that there was a likelihood of confusion. As regards the relevant public, the public consisted of both specialists and the general public throughout the territory of the EU.

As regards the comparison of the goods, the goods are identical.

As regards the comparison of the marks, there is an average degree of visual, phonetic and conceptual similarity between them. The General Court disagreed with the BoA regarding the conceptual similarity: both in French and English, the word ‘mini’ is an adjective and the word ‘cargo’ is a noun. The word ‘cargo’, which means ‘load’ in English, determines the main meaning of the CTM  application in the perception of the relevant public, whereas the word ‘mini’ only serves to characterise the size of the object designated.  So although the signs at issue have the element ‘mini’, which means ‘very small’, in common, there is only a low degree of conceptual similarity between them, lower therefore than that which was found to exist by the BoA, since the main meaning of the mark applied for is determined by the element ‘cargo’.

In the light of the average degree of visual and phonetic similarity, the Board of Appeal’s error as regards the degree of conceptual similarity between the marks is not capable of affecting the finding that there is an average degree of similarity between those marks taken as a whole and having found that the earlier mark was reputed and was therefore highly distinctive, there is a likelihood of confusion within the meaning of Article 8(1)(b) of CTMR, at least for the relevant public in the UK.

Last but not least, the Court found that the BoA has rightly found that earlier contrary decisions from the French IP office and Paris Court of Appeal were related to the perception which French consumers had of the marks at issue, which was not relevant in the context of the assessment of the likelihood of confusion as regards the relevant public in the UK, and, secondly, that it was not bound by the decisions of national authorities.

 

rt dismissed the appeal in the following opposition

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 18.50
Tags: general court, minicargo, mini ,cars, likelihood of confusion,
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