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Wednesday, 22 June 2005

TWO FROM THE CFI


The first of today's Court of First Instance's (CFI's) appeals from the OHIM Boards of Appeal
is Case T-34/04, Plus Warenhandelsgesellschaft mbH v OHIM, Joachim Bälz and Friedmar Hiller.
The applicant sought to register this sweet little figurative sign for various goods in Classes 3, 25, 28, 32, 33 and 34. The opponent objected, citing its earlier German registration of the word mark POWER for tobacco and smokers' accessories in Class 34. The Opposition Division and the Board of Appeal refused the opposition on the ground that there was no likelihood of confusion: "the verbal element ‘Turkish’ of the sign sought and its figurative element, which consists of a lion’s head, could not be overlooked and that, even if the lion’s head alluded to the idea of strength, it was not a straightforward transposition of that idea". The CFI dismissed the appeal.

Metso: in need of a less descriptive mark than PAPERLAB for ‘computer
equipment and measuring installations for surveying and testing of paper’


The second appeal was in Case T-19/04 Metso Paper Automation Oy v OHIM. Metso applied to register the word mark PAPERLAB for ‘computer equipment and measuring installations for surveying and testing of paper’ in Class 9. The examiner and the Board of Appeal thought this to be rather on the descriptive side and none too inherently distinctive either (though the application was remitted for consideration of whether PAPERLAB had acquired distinctiveness through use). Metso then appealed, unsuccessfully, to the CFI. As the court said, at para.33:

"the Board of Appeal was right in its finding that the PAPERLAB mark described in English in a simple and straightforward manner the intended function of the goods for which registration of the mark was sought. The word sign PAPERLAB does not create an impression sufficiently removed from that produced by merely joining the words ‘paper’ and ‘lab’. Moreover, the ‘paperlab’ sign could also be perceived as denoting one of the technical characteristics of the goods in question, since this is a question of computer equipment and measuring installations which have been designed to work like a real mobile laboratory in order to obtain, on the spot, services usually performed in a laboratory".
The IPKat has no quarrel with either of these decisions.

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