As you might know our sister company Onel trademarks filed a court suit some years ago up to the Court of Justice in order to clarify what requirements are imposed on the geographic use of a European trademark. Is it enough that a European trademark, a trademark that offers protection in 28 countries, is only used in a small area? Should the trademark be used in several countries? An important question, because if the use requirements apply to a European trademark, the trademark owner wants to know which use is sufficient to maintain its trademark rights.
In short, the Court of Justice stated that one can expect that a European trademark is used in a wider area. However, the geographical use of a trademark is only one aspect when answering the question whether a trademark has been genuinely used. In other words, it is the total picture that is being looked at.
Since then there have been several cases where use of a European trademark in, for example, Germany and London was considered sufficient. In the recent opposition between the brands UNITED SPACES against SPACES (the latter is the well-known office rental concept), the question arose whether use in Stockholm alone was sufficient. No, says the EUIPO. The entire evidence was not overwhelming (a few invoices and annual reports). But, according to the EUIPO, use in Stockholm is not enough. Although Sweden is very large as a country, this country is sparsely populated. Moreover, Stockholm is a city of 1.5 million inhabitants where more than 512 million inhabitants live in the EU.
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