As a trademark holder you want to protect the reputation and image of your brand. This is especially true in the fashion industry where your name and logo are crucial. It is therefore not strange that Ralph Lauren was not amused when it saw the application of RALPH LOMREN in the European Union by a Hong Kong company. Ralph Lauren filed an opposition claiming that the RALPH LAUREN trademark has a broader protection (than an average brand) as the brand is well-known in the industry.
In these cases, an opposition is often based on risk of confusion on one hand and free riding and/or dilution on the other. In this case, the confusion basis was already successful. Despite some visual differences, the EUIPO found the brands similar: the words correspond to the letters RALPH L ** REN. This also results in an aural similarity.
According to the EUIPO the differences between brands are insufficient to prevent confusion. Therefore, the application of RALPH LOMREN was rejected.
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”