The General Court of the EU ruled in Cases T-629/16 and T-85/16 Shoe Branding Europe BVBA v EUIPO.
These cases concern an attempt by Shoe Branding to register the following EU trademark for Class 25:
Against this mark, an opposition was filed by Adidas based on earlier marks for a similar sign:
EUIPO upheld the opposition, finding that there is a likelihood of confusion based on the similarity of the signs and the reputation attached to the Adidas’ earlier marks.
Shoe Branding appealed before the Court claiming that there is no similarity and what’s more both signs had been peacefully coexisting in Germany for many years.
The Court upheld the EUIPO’s decision as correct. Apart from the fact that both marks are confusingly similar, according to the court, the applicant was trying to take unfair advantages from the proved reputation of the earlier marks. An evidence for this was an advertising slogan “TWO STRIPES ARE ENOUGH“ used in Portugal, which indirectly made a link with the Adidas’ marks.
With regard to the trademarks coexistence, the Court dismissed it, because there was no evidence for such on an EU level.