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Wednesday, 13 October 2004


The IPKat was a confused cat, as you’ll see from his Tuesday translation watch, despairing at the lack of an English translation of Aventis v OHIM. However, his readers came to the rescue. Darren Smyth of Marks & Clerk writes:

"The case rejects an opposition by Aventis to the registration by BASF of the mark CARPO in respect of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides, based on Aventis's earlier mark HARPO Z registered in respect of preparations for the elimination of vermin; fungicides, herbicides.

The CFI agreed with OHIM that the marks were not similar, both because of the different initial letters, and because of the presence of the "Z" in the earlier mark. Aventis argued that the Z would be perceived as an incidental element, indicating one product in particular in a family of products. The CFI disagreed, saying that the"Z" contributed to a significant degree to the distinctiveness of the mark. The fact that Aventis had included it in the mark as applied for supported this conclusion.

Visually, the CFI agreed with OHIM that the initial letter and the Z carried more weight than the "ARPO" element of the mark. Phonetically, the marks were also considered different, both because of the difference in the sound of the initial letters (H is silent in Spanish; C is pronounced K in this circumstance), and because of the Z (which is pronounced "theta" in Spanish, so has quite a dominant effect). The previous cases referred to in para 14 of the judgment (Petit Liberto (Fifies), FUNK/JUNK,and UFO/GUFO) were distinguished).

OHIM had also argued that the marks were dissimilar because CARPO meant "wrist" (as in carpal bones), while HARPO Z had no meaning. The CFI doubted that a significant number of people would discern the meaning of "wrist" in CARPO, but nevertheless felt that the marks were dissimilar for the other reasons given".
Thanks as well to David Landau, who also responded to the IPKat’s call.

Harpo with meaning here
Find the carpal bone here

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