Who has ever been in Spain knows the beautiful El Cortes Ingles department stores. An important feature in the corporate identity of El Cortes Ingles is the logo: a green arrow with El Cortes Ingles in it. With the aim to obtain a broader trademark protection, the green arrow is also registered without the word El Cortes Ingles. This, however, does not mean that El Cortes Ingles can object each arrow: a recent opposition against the black arrows (right) was rejected. The EUIPO was remarkably firm: “the earlier sign consists of a green isosceles triangle pointing to the right, whereas the contested sign features two black isosceles triangles that partly overlap and point to the left. As the signs do not visually coincide in any element, it is concluded that the signs are not visually similar.” The opposition is rejected. Although this decision can be followed, the opinion that “the signs do not visually coincide in any element” is rather harsh. We can understand the position of El Cortes Ingles as the arrows themselves show similarities. However, El Cortes Ingles cannot count on any empathy at all with the EUIPO.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”