The General Court of the EU has ruled in case T‑61/16 Coca Cola v EUIPO which concerns an attempt by Syrian company to register the following EU trademark for drinks:
Coca Cola filed an opposition against this application based on several earlier marks among which the following:
The company claimed that the later mark tries to gain unfair advantages from the reputation of its famous trademarks imitating their font.
Initially, EUIPO dismissed the opposition considering both signs dissimilar. This decision was appealed and the Court invalidated it. In the followed re-examination the EUIPO dismissed the opposition again as groundless.
Now the General court upheld its initial position on the case concluding that the EUIPO had erred in its assessment of the evidence relating to the commercial use of the sign outside of the EU by disregarding inferences and probability analyses of the risk of free-riding within the EU.
It added that the manner in which the ‘Master’ sign is currently used is likely to lead to a “non-hypothetical” future risk of unfair advantage in the EU.