On the online portal of the trade journal World Trademark Review (WTR), BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT partner Dr. Florian Schwab discusses a recent trademark law decision of the General Court in (T-198/21) Ancor Group GmbH v. European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) of February 23, 2022.
The court set aside the decision of the Board of Appeal of the EUIPO and – upholding the decision of the Opposition Division – finally rejected the opposition based on the word and figurative marks CODY’S against the word mark CODE-X (essentially each claiming beverages in class 42 of the Nice classification).
In contrast to the Board of Appeal, the European judges found no likelihood of confusion between the marks. They based their decision primarily on the fact that CODY’S and CODE-X are visually and phonetically similar, at most, to an average degree. The hyphen creates a syllabic and visual break, which does not apply to the apostrophe. For goods in the beverage sector, it cannot be assumed that they are primarily ordered orally (for example in a busy and noisy bar where phonetic differences may not be clearly perceived) and, thus, the phonetic comparison is not per se primarily relevant.
In Dr. Schwab’s opinion, the result reached by the court is convincing. It is worth noting that the overruling of the Board of Appeal is more the exception than the rule in EU trademark matters.
The full article in English is available online for registered users of WTR here!