The world is becoming more and more visual, with a greater emphasis on logos, as we tend to recognize brands just from their color combination or visual appearance. Just think about Starbucks’ latest logo refresh, where the word Starbucks is gone altogether!
But in the world of trademark infringements, the visual resemblance has to be very clear in order for a case to be successful. This was not the case in the opposition brought by Tommy Hilfiger against the European logo (below right).
The EUIPO is of the opinion that the signs coincide in the red and white squares of the marks. “However, they differ greatly in the portrayal of these squares. In the contested sign the squares are outlined in black and share a common side whereas in the earlier marks they are between two blue horizontal lines and have no vertical borders. In fact the white square of the earlier marks is more likely to be seen as an empty space rather than a square as it has no border on the left hand side.”
As the signs have considerable visual differences, there is no confusion. Whilst Tommy would have a more successful case emphasizing the reputation of the mark, it did unfortunately not file any evidence, so we will never know the outcome of this ground.
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