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God against Dog

God against DogThe EUIPO recently had to judge whether the European clothing brands GOD SAVE THE QUEEN and DOG SAVE THE QUEEN were confusingly similar trademarks.

Whereas the visual and aural similarity heavily weigh in the assessment of similarity between trademarks, the conceptual difference cannot be overlooked.  This conceptual difference can neutralize any visual and aural similarity. This conceptual difference could play a role in this matter.

The EUIPO judges that a visual similarity exists. While DOG and GOD are visually different, this difference has little impact on the overall similarity between the trademarks. Aurally, there is a high similarity.  Can the conceptual difference neutralize this visual and aural similarity? After all, GOD SAVE THE QUEEN refers to the national anthem and DOG to dog. No, says the EUIPO. Both trademarks do not consist of such basic English words that the relevant European public in a non-English speaking country would understand this. For these consumers these trademarks have no meaning. If this issue had only been played in the UK, the outcome might have been different.

As the overall impression of the trademarks coincides, the opposition is granted.

Arnaud Bos

“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”

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