Uitspraak ingezonden door Wouter Pors, Wieke During en Nina Dorenbosch, Bird & Bird.
FLÜGEL - Alcoholhoudende dranken en energydrinks zijn geen gelijksoortige waren
Gerecht EU 4 oktober 2018, IEF 18009; IEFbe 2758; ECLI:EU:T:2018:641; T-150/17 (FLÜGEL) Eerder werd FLÜGEL doorgehaald vanwege slogan RED BULL VERLEIHT FLÜGEL [IEF 15454]. Het Gerecht EU vernietigt de beslissing van EUIPO's Kamer van Beroep voor zover de Cancellation Division het merk FLÜGEL nietig verklaarde voor alcoholische dranken. Red Bull had oppositie ingesteld tegen een merkdepot van Flügel. Er is onvoldoende bewijs voor gedogen van merkgebruik door Red Bull, omdat niet voldoende aannemelijk is dat Red Bull zich in de relevante periode bewust moet zijn geweest van dat gebruik in Oostenrijk. Alcoholhoudende dranken en energydrinks zijn geen gelijksoortige waren. Dat betekent dat de oppositie voor zover die op die grond was ingesteld alsnog afgewezen moet worden.
58 The applicant also submits that the intervener has always denied any connection between energy drinks and alcoholic drinks. In that respect, the intervener printed a sentence on the cans containing the product marketed under the earlier mark which may be translated into English by ‘do not mix with alcohol’. According to the applicant, the intervener has always claimed that its product makes its consumers more energetic and alert, the opposite effect of consuming alcoholic drinks, so that a consumer wishing to remain alert, such as a driver, would not consider substituting an alcoholic drink for a non-alcoholic energy drink.
64 The intervener also endorses the conclusion of the Board of Appeal concerning the similarity between alcoholic drinks and energy drinks. The intervener submits that, contrary to what the applicant seems to claim, the practice of mixing energy drinks and alcoholic drinks is very common among young people in Austria, which also follows from the evidence submitted by the applicant connected with the mixed drink called ‘FLÜGERL’, which is made of vodka and Red Bull.
76 In the third place, as regards the similarity between the goods covered by the signs at issue, as is apparent from paragraph 48 of the contested decision, the Board of Appeal based its conclusion on the fact that those goods were ‘often mixed and/or consumed together’. It is apparent from that wording and, in particular, from the alternative use of the two words ‘and’ and ‘or’ that, according to the Board of Appeal, its conclusion was based either on the consideration that it was common practice to mix the goods in question, or on the consideration that those goods were consumed together, or, in any event, on those two considerations taken together.