The General Court of the European Union gave one of the most predictable decisions of the year to date this morning when it dismissed Grundig's appeal against refusal to register a Community trade mark (CTM) in Case T‑11/14, Grundig Multimedia AG v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market -- an appeal which had "reject me" written all over it.
|A great mark for footwear,|
but would it be registrable
for vacuum cleaners?
Grundig appealed, but it was all in vain. Said the General Court:
* Given the noise-conveying characteristics of the products designated in Grundig's application, the word ‘pianissimo’ would be perceived by the relevant public as a promotional formula indicating that those products functioned silently. That message was expressed so clearly and obviously that the relevant public would not need to make a special effort to interpret it.
* The fact that the word ‘pianissimo’ also meant ‘very slowly’ -- a meaning which the Board of Appeal did not take into consideration -- was of no assistance to Grundig here.
Says Merpel, if Grundig wanted EU-wide protection for PIANISSIMO, despite its obvious problem in Italy, why didn't it apply to register PIANISSIMO as a national mark in all the countries in which Italian isn't spoken, build up a web of national registrations while it used the mark in Italy and elsewhere, then file for a CTM on the basis that it had acquired distinctiveness through use within the EU? It might be a roundabout route but that's sometimes the best way of reaching your destination. Merpel is however impressed at the fact that this application has got all the way to a General Court ruling in only 18 months; it's good to see things speeding up in Alicante and Luxembourg, where "pianissimo" is not being interpreted as a synonym for mañana.
The IPKat who, like most domestic felines, has an aversion to loud domestic appliances, would be happy to trade his vacuum cleaner and washing machine in for a PIANISSIMO. Alas for him, his appliances would be more appropriately branded NESSUN DORMA.
Cats and vacuum cleaners here and here
Softly Softly here