Case T-33/03 Osotspa Co. Ltd, Bangkoka v Iekšējā tirgus saskaņošanas biroju (preču zīmes, paraugi un modeļi) (ITSB) has now been posted on the ECJ website. Languages in which this decision appear include Lithuanian, Estonian, Slovenian and Slovakian -- but NOT English.

The IPKat can see that this case involves a rather attractive trade mark that looks like this:

Unfortunately he can't make out a word of the judgment.

For those of his readers whose Lithuanian is up to it, the court ruled as follows:
"Pagal Darbo reglamento 87 straipsnio 2 dalį pralaimėjusiai šaliai nurodoma padengti išlaidas, jeigu laimėjusi šalis to prašė. Kadangi ieškovė pralaimėjo bylą, jis turi padengti bylinėjimosi išlaidas pagal VRDT ir įstojusios į bylą šalies pateiktus reikalavimus. Remdamasis šiais motyvais, PIRMOSIOS INSTANCIJOS TEISMAS nusprendžia: (1) Atmesti ieškinį. (2) Priteisti iš ieškovės bylinėjimosi išlaidas".
The IPKat's store of righteous indignation is far from being used up: he's seething with rage that the most widely-comprehended language in the world is being treated in this way. Merpel says: "МЯУКАНЬЕ".
ECJ TRANSLATORS, WHERE ARE YOU? ECJ TRANSLATORS, WHERE ARE YOU? Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, March 09, 2005 Rating: 5


  1. In this case, the CFI rejected an opposition to applicant’s wordmark “HAI” in classes 5, 32, 33, 35 and 42, based on the highly stylised mark “SHARK”, registered for non-alcoholic beverages in Class 32. Unsurprisingly, it held that the marks were not similar! One interesting point is that the beverages covered by the opponent’s class 32 were held not to be similar to the services in the applicant’s Classes 35 and 42 involving the provision of beverages. Over the last few years, OHIM has been wobbling like a wackelpudding on how to decide this point.

  2. Thanks so much for this Comment, which the IPKat and Merpel -- not to mention our readers -- really appreciate.

  3. From the point of view of a native German speaker it is not at all 'unsurprisingly' that the marks were not found similar as 'Hai' is the literal translation of 'Shark' into German. Opposed to the IPKat and most other native English speakers Germans and Austrians (especially teenagers who are the predominant consumers of energy drinks - class 32 where identity of the products was found) have quite good knowledge of the English language such that the conceptual similarity of the marks was even attested by the CFI. However, it was found that the visual and aural differences outweigh the conceptual similarity ! (par. 64). Isn´t it established case law that it is sufficient to prove visual OR aural OR conceptual similarity in order to demonstrate likelihood of confusion (in case of identical goods) ?!

  4. Generally, I suppose yes, but there are a couple of special points the CFI takes into consideration:
    - The conceptual similarity is dependent upon the translation of the word "shark" as "Hai".
    - The prior shark marks are considered to be of higher than mere average distinctiveness (OHIM and the BoA had been of a different opinion).

    In the end, the CFI considers the visual and phonetic differences between the marks sufficiently significant to neutralise the conceptual similarity of the marks - which is dependant upon prior translation anyhow.


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