Another ruling yesterday from the EU's Court of First Instance (CFI) was Case T-115/02 AVEX Inc v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market. Avex applied to register as a Community trade mark a figurative sign containing the letter 'a' in relation to class 25 goods (clothing, footwear, headgear, non-Japanese style outwear, coats, sweaters and the like, nightwear, underwear, swimming suits, shirts and the like, socks and stockings, gloves, ties, bandannas, mufflers, hats and caps, shoes and boots, belts, jackets, T-shirts). An opposition, filed by the owner of an earlier figurative mark that also contained the letter 'a' in relation to class 25 goods, succeeded on the basis that, through the similarity of marks and goods, there was a likelihood of confusion. The OHIM Board of Appeal dismissed the appeal, as did the CFI. The only item of note in an otherwise unexceptional decision was the CFI's observation that any view expressed by the Board of Appeal as to the validity of an applicant's trade mark in ex parte proceedings (for example where the applicant is arguing with OHIM over a mark's inherent distinctiveness, see Case R 91/1998-2) is not going to be relevant in proceedings where that mark's similarity to another mark is being considered.
The IPKat sympathises with CTM applicants who get past the hurdle of persuading OHIM that their mark is distinctive, only to find that it is confusingly similar to someone else's earlier mark, but there's no merit in letting such marks on to the register. Money spent litigating these points may be better spent in designing a new mark.
Number of Google hits for the letter "A" today: 3,570,000,000. Time spent finding them: 0.18 seconds
Things that "A" is for here, here and here
Things you might not have thought "A" is for here and here
Wednesday, 14 July 2004
Posted by Jeremy at 9:18:00 a.m.