“BVLGARI” is not equal to Bulgaria under some circumstances

perfume-2142824_1920The the Swiss Federal Administrative Court has rules in a case that regards two Swiss trademark applications for “BVLGARI VAULT” (for classes 9, 38 and 42) and “BVLGARI” (for classes 36 and 43).

The Swiss Patent Office refused both of them based on absolute grounds – indication of geographical origin. The reason is that BVLGARI was almost identical with the French word “Bulgarie” which is the name of the country Bulgaria.

The decision was appealed.

According to the Court, these signs although an indication of a geographical place, the name of a country, can be registered as trademarks. The argument for this was the Supreme court’s practice which allows such registration in case that the sign has acquired secondary meaning.

The Court considered that this is the case with both applications. Due to the long market presence consumers are able to recognize BVLGARI for different goods such as soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetic products, hair lotions”, “sunglasses”, “jewelry, watches etc. What’s more the Court allowed both trademarks for other goods and services in classes 9, 38, 42 and 43 because it was typical companies nowadays to use their marks for related trade, production and marketing activities.

Source:  Markus Frick и  Benno Fischer-Siddiqui Walder Wyss, Lexology