Nutrition giant Kraft recently had a candy fight with Haribo. The subject was the trademark ORO, registered by Kraft. This trademark formed the basis for a cancellation action against the trademark HARIBO ORO. This issue provides two interesting questions: is ORO is a distinctive trademark? And are the marks still similar as HARIBO has been added in the contested mark? ORO means gold in Spanish. This meaning is generally known, without the need of in-depth knowledge of Spanish. Nevertheless the Cancellation Division of the European Trademark Office is of the opinion that at least the English-speaking people will have no clue when it perceives this trademark. Sometimes, the opinions of the OHIM regarding the meaning of words is difficult to follow. At the end, the OHIM is of the opinion that ORO has a normal distinctive character.
But are the trademarks similar? We all remember Thomson Life where the ECJ ruled that the addition of Thomson does not alter the fact that the trademarks LIFE are similar. Although it seems that case law is not always following this ruling, the OHIM now finds that the trademarks ORO and HARIBO ORO are similar. A golden victory for Kraft!
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