BRUSSELS, 12 Jul. () –
The General Court of Justice of the European Union (TGUE) has dismissed this Wednesday the appeal filed by Multiópticas against the logo of the Nike glasses line on the grounds that it was similar to that of ‘Mó’.
In 2020, Multiópticas opposed the registration of the Nike brand based on those that had previously been registered for the same services, but a year later the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) rejected the opposition for considering that the opposite signs were not similar.
Multiópticas then appealed the resolution before the General Court -in the first instance of the CJEU- which, in its judgment of this Wednesday, dismissed the appeal and endorsed the decision of the EUIPO, which had determined that the conflicting signs did not have any element in common and that they were different at a graphic and phonetic level, since the brand of the American company, purely figurative, cannot be pronounced. He also considered it impossible to compare the signs on a conceptual level, since they did not link any clear concept.
The General Court considers that, at a graphic level, the mark of the United States company is characterized by a juxtaposition of two black geometric shapes – a square with a rounded top and a basic circle to its right, both colored in black – and confirms the EUIPO’s assessment that since no clear lines or outlines could be perceived as letters, the mark of Nike Innovate is purely figurative. Therefore, the reference public will not associate the combination of the basic geometric shapes that make up said brand to any combination of letters, but will perceive it as an imagined figurative element, devoid of any verbal element.
On the other hand, in all of the previous Multiópticas trademarks, denominative elements clearly appear: the letter “m” juxtaposed to the letter “o” with an accent, which will be immediately perceived by the relevant public as verbal elements.
The General Court considers that, since the relevant public would not recognize the letters “n” and “o” in the US company’s mark, it would not describe it by pronouncing those letters, therefore it is not relevant to compare the signs phonetically . Therefore, the European justice considers that the EUIPO acted correctly in confirming that the conflicting signs were not similar.
In addition, given this difference, the TGUE states that the reason for refusal of registration based on a potential unfair advantage obtained from the distinctive character or reputation of the earlier mark or the potential damage that could be caused to said distinctive character cannot come into play. or said reputation.