The European Justice annuls a resolution of the EUIPO on a Spanish trademark

José Mª Iglesias MonraváGeneral Manager, Aguilar & Revenga

Brussels, Dec 2 (EFE) .- The General Court of the European Union (TGUE) annulled this Wednesday a resolution of the Community Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in which it gave the reason to the Barcelona company Embutidos Monells for a conflict in the registration of a trademark similar to that of the Sánchez Romero Carvajal Jabugo firm.

The Luxembourg-based court considered this Tuesday that the EUIPO did not correctly assess either the phonetic similarity or the conceptual similarity between the two brands and that, therefore, it must adopt a new resolution in this regard.

In February 2017, Embutidos Monells, SA, based in the Barcelona town of Sant Miquel de Balenyà, applied to the EUIPO for the registration of a trademark for various food products such as poultry and game meat, sausages, preserves, processed meat products and delicatessen, with a figurative sign “5Ms”.

For its part, in June 2017, the company based in El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz) Sánchez Romero Carvajal Jabugo objected to this registration, alleging that there was a risk of confusion with a trademark registered under its name in July 2015 for meat, fish, poultry and game products, among others, “5J”.

A year later, in July 2018, the Intellectual Property Office upheld this opposition from Sánchez Romero, considering that the use of the brand by the Barcelona company could allow it to take undue advantage of the notoriety of the Cádiz brand.

Embutidos Monells appealed and the EUIPO finally considered that, despite the fact that the products designated by both marks were identical, the signs were not similar enough to give rise to a likelihood of confusion.

In this regard, the General Court ruled Wednesday that the euipo “erred in estimating that there was a low degree of phonetic similarity between the conflicting signs,” according to the text of the judgment, and that “should be considered in the plane phonetic such signs show a similarity of medium degree ”.

It also found that also wrong to the estimate that the signs were not similar from the conceptual point of view, since both include the same number and a consonant capital letter a number of times identical reproduces this figure, and which therefore “must be held that there is a strong conceptual similarity between the two signs,” says the statement.

Finally, as regards the assessment of the likelihood of confusion, the Court revealed that since the similarity between the signs is low visually, medium in terms of phonetics and high in terms of concept, the EUIPO made an error when consider that there was no risk of confusion between the brands EFE

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