Apple is certainly not thrilled with the recent ruling of the OHIM. The OHIM rejected its opposition against the trademark application of Dr. iCloud.
Apple based its opposition on a variety of earlier trademarks. While OHIM acknowledged the enhanced scope of protection of the trademarks, it also confirms the low inherent distinctiveness of the word iCloud.
The contested trademark application is Dr iCloud, a device with the words Dr iCloud (the OHIM consequently refers to the disputed trademark as DriCloud).
After an assessment of the signs, the OHIM takes the view that the trademarks are not similar. Some of the arguments given by the OHIM: the different beginning of the trademarks makes the trademarks visually dissimilar. There is also a conceptual difference, due to the capital C, the disputed trademark will be perceived as Dri Cloud, (despite of the space between Dr and Cloud). Moreover, the similar device elements of clouds are rather weak device elements for cloud computing trademarks.
The outcome may not be surprising, but some of the arguments are. The trademarks iCloud and Dr iCloud are, in our opinion, more similar than iCloud and OHIM’s artifical perceptions of the trademark, DRICLOUD and Dri Cloud. And why choose Cyprus as the relevant territory, while Apple also invokes a European trademark? In other cases OHIM chose Latvia or Hungary as non-English countries, and have granted some protection to very descriptive English words. The result is uncertainty, a dark cloud.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”