Honda is famous for its cars, bikes as well as water sports engines. Recently, the logo ONDA was filed in the European Union. Honda files an opposition based on their European trademark HONDA.
Are Honda and ONDA similar, despite of the differences of the graphic elements? No, says the Applicant. Moreover, the Applicants stresses that ONDA has been used for years in Greece for boats and has become a well-known brand. Due to this long use and the different products (boats versus engines) there is no confusion.
The EUIPO assesses the opposition and takes the perception of the French consumer as a basis. This consumer will not pronounce the H of Honda. As EUIPO finds the words dominant in both marks, the conclusion that the marks are similar is not surprising.
Does the older use play a role in the assessment? No, says EUIPO, actual or historical use cannot be taken into account in an opposition procedure. Moreover, the right of an EUTM starts on the filing date, earlier use is irrelevant in the opposition.
As the products are regarded similar, Honda’s opposition is upheld.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”