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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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SATURDAY, 30 APRIL 2016
General Court: Liiga is non-distinctive for (at least) the Finnish consumer

In Judgment T‑54/15, Jääkiekon SM-liiga Oy applied for the following EU TM for Classes 9, 16, 25, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 39, 41 and 42.

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The word element of the mark applied for will be read by the relevant public, composed of average Finnish-speaking consumers, as ‘Liiga’, namely a competitive sports division in Finnish. The mark applied for therefore displays a clear and direct relationship with the ‘category, the quality and the intended purpose’ of the goods and services at issue. The Board of Appeal observed that the figurative elements of the mark applied for, namely the slight stylisation of the letters and dark, circular background, are banal and incapable of diverting the consumer’s attention from the descriptive message expressed by the word element, such that they are devoid of any distinctive character. In this context, the figurative elements would be seen as the background for that message, with the result that the mark applied for should be considered to be descriptive and thus devoid of distinctive character for the goods and services at issue

The EU IPO rejected partially the application on the basis of Article 7(1)(b) and (c) and Article 7(2) of Regulation No 207/2009, in so far as the mark covered ‘games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes’ in Class 28 and ‘sporting activities’ in Class 41.

The word element of the mark applied for will be read by the relevant public, composed of average Finnish-speaking consumers, as ‘Liiga’, namely a competitive sports division in Finnish. The mark applied for therefore displays a clear and direct relationship with the ‘category, the quality and the intended purpose’ of the goods and services at issue. The figurative elements of the mark applied for, namely the slight stylisation of the letters and dark, circular background, are banal and incapable of diverting the consumer’s attention from the descriptive message expressed by the word element, such that they are devoid of any distinctive character. In this context, the figurative elements would be seen as the background for that message, with the result that the mark applied for should be considered to be descriptive and thus devoid of distinctive character for the goods and services at issue.

The General Court dismissed the appeal.

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 13.06
Tags: EU trademark, liiga, sports, absolute grounds,
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