There are thousands of trade names and brands that are identical to the creator or owner. Think of brands like Philips, Versace etc. As a trademark is an indication of the origin of products, using the name of the creator is easy. However, the disadvantage of family names is… family. There are more people with the same name. So, there are many disputes about a family name trademark. Like the one between Hugo Boss and Ralph Bossi. Ralph Bossi filed the device mark RalphBossi (similar to the one below). The EUIPO agrees with Hugo Boss that Ralph Bossi will be perceived as a family name whereas the surname gets the most attention. On the other hand, the prename Ralph is added to the trademark, there is an additional ‘i’ in the contested mark and there are device elements, which all create a distance between the marks. The aural and visual similarity is therefore low. Conceptually, you can say that both trademarks represent a family name, and for that reason the marks are conceptually similar. EUIPO however is more severe and comes to the finding that no family link can be established between Bossi and Boss. So, no link, no conceptual similarity. Can Boss play the boss over Boss? Probably in most cases yes, but in this case with the device mark RalphBossi no. And yes, this is a post of Arnaud Bos (with one s, so no family).
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