Trade Mark Law - In 2011, Lionel Messi filed an application for registration of the shown figurative sign as an EU trade mark for sports clothing, footwear and equipment. An opposition was filed based on the EU word mark MASSI. The opposition was upheld by the EUIPO. The General Court however found that that the football player’s reputation counteracted the visual and phonetic similarities between the two signs and excluded any likelihood of confusion.
The CJEU finds that the possible reputation of the person who is applying for his name to be registered as a trade mark is one of the relevant factors for the purposes of assessing the likelihood of confusion, in so far as that reputation may influence the relevant public’s perception of the mark. The General Court therefore did not err in law in considering that Messi’s reputation constituted a relevant factor for the purposes of establishing a conceptual difference between the terms ‘messi’ and ‘massi’.
The judgment is yet to be published in English.
IPPT-version to follow.