A reversed Volkswagen logo led to angry faces in Wolfsburg. Was the logo Main Auto Wheels (as shown under) not too similar to the famous Volkswagen logo?
No, said the Opposition Division of the EUIPO. Volkswagen appealed but the Board of Appeal agreed with the findings of the Opposition Division.
The consumer normally perceives a mark as a whole and does not proceed to analyse its various details. Of course, dominant elements will stand out whereas descriptive elements will not. However, the assessment concerns the overall impression and not one component of a complex trademark.
In this case, there is no visual similarity at all. The graphic elements differ, the wording (MA versus VW), the colours, the pattern. And although in the case of the MAIN CAR WHEELS mark these words are quite descriptive, these words cannot be ignored in the overall impression of the marks. The mere fact that both logo’s consist of a circle with a lining pattern is not enough for a similarity. Because the respective trademarks differ, there is no confusion.
However, Volkswagen had also based its opposition on free riding on the reputation of a famous logo. The Boards of Appeal finds that the similarity between the marks is not even sufficient to establish a link between the trademarks on the grounds of article 8 (5) EUTMR. So the Volkswagen’s appeal is dismissed.
Volkswagen’s concerns with this logo is understandable. Especially if you see the reversed Main Auto Wheels logo. However, and that is just the point, we never will look at the Main Auto Wheels this way. The logo you should take into consideration takes enough distance from the Volkswagen logo.
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