No risk of confusion between mark with four crossed lines and Asics figurative mark

Print this page 17-10-2018
IPPT20181016, GCEU, Asics v EUIPO
(Courtesy of Bram Woltering and Peter Claassen, AKD)

Trade Mark Law. Appeal against the decision of the Board of Appeal of EUIPO in the opposition procedure regarding the figurative sign with four thin straight lines for class 18 (leather and imitations of leather), 24 (textiles and textile goods) and 25 (clothing, footwear, headgear). The Board of Appeal ruled that there was no risk of confusion and that the mark applied for did not take unfair advantage of, or was detrimental to, the distinctive character of the repute of the earlier trade mark.

 

The action is dismissed. The Board of Appeal found correctly that there was no visual similarity between the marks, because the overall impression given by the marks at issue is so different that the consumer will not make a connection between the signs at issue solely on the basis that they are both composed of parallel lines crossing two other lines.  The General Court confirms the analysis of the Board in regard of the phonetic and conceptual comparison. Because the signs are figurative marks without word elements it is not possible to compare the signs phonetically. Furthermore, none of the graphic forms have a conceptual content.

 

“46. Thus, even if the consumer does not recall details such as the size or thickness of the lines, the overall impression between, on the one hand, thick lines and curves forming a letter ‘x’ superimposed on a character ‘’ and, on the other hand, thin straight lines that can be perceived as a character ‘#’ inclined backwards to 45 degrees is so different that the consumer will not make a connection between the signs at issue solely on the basis that they are both composed of parallel lines crossing two other longer lines.

 

47. In the light of the foregoing, the Board of Appeal found correctly that the overall impression given by the marks at issue was different, which leads to the conclusion that there is no visual similarity.

 

48. As regards the phonetic and conceptual comparison, it should be noted that the Board of Appeal, in paragraph 16 of the contested decision, stated that it was not possible to compare the signs at issue phonetically and that the conceptual comparison remained ‘neutral’. In view of the fact that the signs at issue are figurative marks without word elements and that none of the graphic forms have a conceptual content, which the applicant, moreover, does not dispute, it is appropriate to confirm the Board of Appeal’s analysis.”

 

T-581/17