Beeldmerken te verschillend van elkaar voor inbreuk
Gerecht EU 21 april 2021, IEF 19907, IEFbe 3206; ECLI:EU:T:2021:207 (Chanel tegen EUIPO) Chanel heeft tegen de inschrijving van het beeldmerk van Huawei verzet aangetekend omdat deze volgens haar gelijkenissen vertoont met haar eigen, oudere Franse beeldmerken. Het Bureau voor intellectuele eigendom van de Europese Unie (EUIPO) heeft dit afgewezen. Chanel is vervolgens in beroep gegaan tegen deze afwijzing, maar tevergeefs. Het Gerecht oordeelt dat bij de beoordeling van de overeenstemming of soortgelijkheid van conflicterende merken, er moet worden gekeken naar de vorm waarin zij zijn ingeschreven en aangevraagd, ongeacht een eventuele verandering in hun gebruik op de markt. Hieruit concludeert zij dat de beeldmerken verschillend zijn van elkaar en wijst zij de vorderingen van Chanel af.
46. In the present case, the Board of Appeal found that the mark applied for and the allegedly reputed mark were not similar. It found that the first consisted of two interlocking u-shaped elements in a vertical position surrounded by the basic geometrical shape of a circle. The second was also purely figurative and consisted of two bold, black interrupted circles, placed mirror-like and overlapping in a horizontal position. According to the Board of Appeal, visually, the marks at issue produced a very different overall impression, in so far as they had a different structure and were composed of different elements. The mere fact that each of the marks is composed of two connected elements does not make them similar. Phonetically, in so far as the marks at issue will not be pronounced, it was impossible, according to the Board of Appeal, to make a comparison. Since the marks had no concept in common they were not similar from a conceptual point of view. The Board of Appeal concluded that, overall, the marks at issue were dissimilar for the purposes of applying Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation No 207/2009 and that there was no need to further examine the other conditions for the application of that provision.
47. According to the applicant, in the first place, the mark applied for and the earlier mark are similar to an average degree, or even to an average to low degree, when they are viewed in the orientation in which they were applied for, and to at least an average degree when the mark applied for is rotated by 90 degrees. The applicant refers, in the latter regard, to the observations set out in paragraph 19 above. In the second place, the applicant submits that, in the absence of any possible phonetic and conceptual comparisons, there are visual similarities between the mark applied for and the earlier mark which lead to the conclusion that the marks at issue are similar overall. To that end, the applicant disputes the Board of Appeal’s findings that the mark applied for and the earlier mark produce a very different overall impression.