Only the matches match

The characteristic and distinctive packaging of Marlboro is well protected. For example, the package is registered as a trademark in its entirety, and so are the geometrical shapes at the top as well as the geometrical shapes combined with the arms. Unfortunately for Marlboro, these marks can not prevent that the opposition against the European application of Raquel is lost.

According to the European Trademark Office the marks show visually and aurally a minor similarity. Conceptually, there is also some similarity, by using a weapon with two horses (hard to see in this logo). However, the words are dominant in these trademarks and as Marlboro and Raquel differ, the similarity is insufficient in order to create confusion, despite of the the similarity between the geometric elements.

Remarkably, the European Trademark Office stresses that the other earlier rights, concerning trademarks of the geometrical shape only, “are even less similar to the contested mark, since they do not features the word elements that are common to the earlier marks assessed above and the application.”

The decision proves once again how difficult it is to protect packaging.

Arnaud Bos

“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”

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