Autoren
Louise Popple

Louise Popple

Senior Professional Support Lawyer

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Julia King

Julia King

Associate

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Autoren
Louise Popple

Louise Popple

Senior Professional Support Lawyer

Read More
Julia King

Julia King

Associate

Read More

30. November 2021

Brands Update – November 2021 – 2 von 3 Insights

The importance of stylisation - GT RACING v GT (logo)

  • Quick read

What happened?

  • The EUIPO often places greater emphasis on the verbal elements of a trade mark, as opposed to its stylisation, in the assessment of similarity of signs.
  • However, in this case, the Opposition Division, Board of Appeal-and now the General Court–have all held that the earlier right relied upon as a basis of opposition was so stylised that its verbal elements could not be ascertained from its representation. Therefore, the opposition failed. 
  • Brands must consider the scope of protection afforded by their trade marks prior to filing and the impact of stylisation on enforcement actions. 

Want to know more?

Wai Leong Wong sought to register GT RACING as an EUTM for goods in class 18. Sony opposed the application based on (among others) the following earlier figurative trade mark, registered in classes 9, 16 and 28:

GT Logo

The EUIPO Opposition Division rejected the opposition, and so did the Board of Appeal, stating that there was no visual, aural or conceptual similarity between the signs. Sony's earlier mark was so visually different from the letters "GT", consumers would have to engage in a highly imaginative cognitive process in order to perceive the mark as representing the letters G and T. It was more likely that consumers would perceive the mark as an abstract and unitary shape.

On appeal, the General Court agreed. It held that the Board had not made any errors in its assessment of Sony's earlier figurative "GT" mark, concluding that the sign was not visually similar to GT RACING due to its very high degree of stylisation. The Court also confirmed that there was no phonetic or conceptual similarity because the earlier mark would not be immediately associated with the letters "GT".

The case highlights the importance of stylisation to the strength and scope of protection of a registration. Evidence showing how the public perceives the mark would not, it seems, be relevant.

Find out more

To discuss the issues raised in this article in more detail, please reach out to a member of our Brands & Advertising team.

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