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Wednesday, 3 May 2006


Eurohypo wallows in the mire

Those busy bees at the Court of First Instance of the European Communities have been at it again, this time in Case T-439/04 Eurohypo AG v OHIM.

Right: er, shouldn't this be hypo, not hippo ...

Eurohypo applied to register the word EUROHYPO for financial and other services in Class 36. Can't, said the examiner, because the sign wasn't distinctive; the mark was refused. The Fourth Board of Appeal allowed the appeal in respect of some services, but not for ‘financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs; provision of financial services; financing’. The Board held that EUROHYPO was descriptive of those services in German-speaking countries, this being sufficient to justify a refusal of protection. The Board of Appeal also held that the elements ‘euro’ and ‘hypo’ contained a clearly understandable indication of the characteristics of the five services mentioned above and that the association of those two elements in one word did not render the mark less descriptive.

The CFI dismissed Eurohypo's appeal. The mark was not distinctive; the smudging of the absolute grounds of refusal based on lack of distinctiveness and on descriptiveness was not fatal since the grounds overlap and the evidence supported both conclusions. Nor had the Board failed to make an adequate assessment of the evidence for itself.

Since human rights are in vogue right now, the IPKat draws readers' attention to this statement of the CFI:

"21 ... as regards the fundamental nature of the right to intellectual property as derived, according to the applicant, from Article 17(2) of the Charter [of fundamental rights of the European Union proclaimed on 7 December 2000 at Nice], which provides that ‘[i]ntellectual property shall be protected’, it is sufficient to state that that right is not absolute and that the Community trade mark exists, inter alia, within the limits imposed by Article 4 in conjunction with Articles 7 and 8 of Regulation No 40/94".
Sighs Merpel, wouldn't it be nice if cats had human rights too.

More on Eurohypo here (for people with earplugs) and here

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