You see them everywhere: T-shirts with sayings in the form of the logo of a famous brand. For example, California in the typeface of the logo of Coca-Cola. Sometimes you see the logo of a famous brand as inspiration in a trademark application of another company. Coca-Cola won a similar case against a lookalike logo in the EU. This was an important decision because words are often considered dominant in a trademark.
Ford recently objected to the trademark Torq (logo on the right), filed for car rims in the EU. And you obviously see why Ford objected to this trademark! Ford filed an opposition and based it on the reputation of the mark and not on the risk of confusion. Most likely a strategic choice as Ford probably believes that it is more difficult to meet the criteria of similarity within the assessment of confusion than demonstrating a link between trademarks within the reputation criteria.
The EUIPO confirms that Ford is a famous brand, also sees a similarity between the logos and finds it plausible that the public makes a connection, in view of the products in question (car wheels). Then it’s a small step for the EUIPO to assume that there will be unfair advantage of the Ford trademark. A tactical choice by Ford, and with the desired result!
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