Alibaba and the 40 thieves

Alibaba and the 40 thievesAlibaba is the name of a hero of the fairy tale, a poor woodcutter of the Arabian nights who enters the cave of the forty thieves by using the password ‘open sesame’. This according to EUIPO who had to rule on the similarity between Alibaba and Ali Juguetes.

Alibaba was filed by a Hong Kong company for toys (and no, not the Chinese market place). Ali Juguetes is a Spanish toystore, who filed an opposition against this application.

While EUIPO ruled that the product toys is similar to a low degree to selling toys (this is in line with the caselaw), the similarity is an obstacle for Ali Juguetes. Besides the conceptual difference (see above) which is known by the Spanish consumer, the trademarks show also other differences which neutralize the similarities between the marks. Consequently, the opposition is rejected.

So, consumers focus on an identical beginning of the trademarks, but this does not always create a similarity.

Arnaud Bos

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