Risk of dilution reputed trade mark requires evidence of a change in economic behaviour

Print this page 14-01-2014
IPPT20131114, CJEU, Environmental Manufacturing v OHIM

TRADE MARK LAW

 

Risk of dilution reputed trade mark requires evidence of a change in economic behaviour.

 

"34. According to the Court’s case-law, proof that the use of the later mark is, or would be, detrimental to the distinctive character of the earlier mark requires evidence of a change in the economic behaviour of the average consumer of the goods or services for which the earlier mark was registered, consequent on the use of the later mark, or a serious likelihood that such a change will occur in the future (Intel Corporation, paragraphs 77 and 81, and also paragraph 6 of the operative part of the judgment).


35. Admittedly, paragraph 77 of the Intel Corporation judgment, which begins with the words ‘[i]t follows that’, immediately follows the assessment of the weakening of the ability to identify and the dispersion of the identity of the earlier mark; it could thus be considered to be merely an explanation of the previous paragraph. However, the same wording, reproduced in paragraph 81 and in the operative part of that judgment, is autonomous. The fact that it appears in the operative part of the judgment makes its importance clear.


36. The wording of the above case-law is explicit. It follows that, without adducing evidence that that condition is met, the detriment or the risk of detriment to the distinctive character of the earlier mark provided for in Article 8(5) of Regulation No 207/2009 cannot be established."

 

Change in economic behavior is an objective condition.

 

"37. The concept of ‘change in the economic behaviour of the average consumer’ lays down an objective condition.That change cannot be deduced solely from subjective elements such as consumers’ perceptions. The mere fact that consumers note the presence of a new sign similar to an earlier sign is not sufficient of itself to establish the existence of a detriment or a risk of detriment to the distinctive character of the earlier mark within the meaning of Article 8(5) of Regulation No 207/2009, in as much as that similarity does not cause any confusion in their minds.

 

40. However, in its judgment in Intel Corporation, the Court clearly indicated that it was necessary to demand a higher standard of proof in order to find detriment or the risk of detriment to the distinctive character of the earlier mark, within the meaning of Article 8(5) of Regulation No 207/2009.

 

41. Accepting the criterion put forward by the General Court could, in addition, lead to a situation in which economic operators improperly appropriate certain signs, which could damage competition."

 

Risk of dilution.


"43. None the less, such deductions must not be the result of mere suppositions but, as the General Court itself noted at paragraph 52 of the judgment under appeal, in citing an earlier judgment of the General Court, must be founded on ‘an analysis of the probabilities and by taking account of the normal practice in the relevant commercial sector as well as all the other circumstances of the case’."

 

IPPT20131114, CJEU, Environmental Manufacturing v OHIM

 

C‑383/12 P - ECLI:EU:C:2013:741