Depicted body-builder cannot be a trademark in EU

The General Court ruled in case T‑335/15,  Universal Protein Supplements Corp. v  European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

This case concerns an attempt of Universal Protein to register the following EU trademark:

t-335-15-1

The sign is applied for the following classes:

– Class 5: ‘Nutritional supplements’;

– Class 25: ‘Clothing; footwear’;

– Class 35: ‘On-line retail store services featuring nutritional supplements; health and diet-related products; clothing and footwear’.

EUIPO refused to register this mark based on Article 7(1)(c) Regulation 2007/2009.

According to the Office, the sign is not distinctive and it is descriptive for the above mention goods and services. The depicted mark conveys message which is related to   ‘body-building’ or a ‘body-builder’ so the consumers cannot perceive it as a source of origin but only as a descriptive sign. Moreover such signs need to stay free for use by all market participants.

The decision was appealed. According to the applicant there are many ways in which such sign can be depicted which is the practice itself. So there are no obstacles this concrete sign to serve as a mark.

The General court upheld the EUIPO’s decision. According to the court the alleged aesthetic character of the stylised image does not require any mental effort on behalf of the relevant public. The meaning of the sign at issue (which refers to the concept of ‘body-builder’ or ‘body-building’) is immediately clear. So the sign lacked distinctive character and cannot be a trademark.

Source: IP KAT.

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