Liiga and the role of graphic elements regarding distinctiveness of EU marks

The European Court issued an decision in Case T‑54/15, Jääkiekon SM-liiga Oy v European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The case concerns an attempt for registration of the following EU trademark for classes 9, 16, 25, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 39, 41 и 42:


EUIPO refused registration of the mark for ‘games and playthings; gymnastic and sporting articles not included in other classes’ in Class 28 and ‘sporting activities’ in Class 41.

The reasons for this are laid down on Article 7(1)(b) and (c) and Article 7(2) of Regulation No 207/2009: trade marks devoid of any distinctive character and trade marks which consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or of rendering of the service, or other characteristics of the goods or service.

The word LIIGA has a meaning of a sport division in Finnish therefore it cannot play a role of a trade mark. The presence of graphic elements is not sufficient because in this case these elements are banal and do not contribute to the distinctiveness of the mark.

The court upheld this decision.

Source: Marques Class 46.


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