VAL wine battle – a General Court decision

The General court of the EU ruled in case T-216/16; Vignerons de la Méditerranée v EUIPO where there is an application for the following EU trademark for Class 33:

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Against this mark, an opposition was filed grounded on an earlier trademark VIÑA DEL VAL for Class 33 too.

EUIPO upheld the opposition taking into consideration the fact that for English-speaking consumers a likelihood of confusion exists. The reason for this conclusion is that the word VAL has no meaning for these consumers whereas VINA possesses low distinctive character. The figurative elements in the trademark application have only decorative character and can’t contribute for the distinctiveness of the mark applied for as a whole.

Both signs are visually and orally similar which create a possibility for confusion among the consumers.

The Court upheld these conclusions and dismissed additional documents submitted with the aim to prove that VAL word is widespread for wine in the EU. According to the court, this is not acceptable because these materials don’t show well-known facts which is the requirement for such latter pieces of evidence.

Source: Alicante news.

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