“WE’RE ON IT” cannot be an EU trademark

The General Court of the European Union has ruled in case T-156/19 Koenig & Bauer AG  v EUIPO.

This dispute concerns an attempt for registration of an European word trademark for “WE’RE ON IT” for classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 16, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 related to to printing machines and services.

The EUIPO refused to register this slogan as a trademark on absolute grounds – lack of distinctive character for the mentioned goods and services.

The slogan “WE’RE ON IT”  has a particular meaning for English speaking consumers in the EU as “we will take care of it” or “we’re working on it”.

The decision was appealed.

The General Court upheld the EUIPO position on this matter. According to the Court “WE’RE ON IT” is a very simple expression widely used in the market. This slogan  does not require considerable mental effort in order it’s meaning to be understood.

From that perspective it can serve as an advertising message related to the specified goods and services which in turn will be understood directly by the consumers as it is, with its simple and straightforward meaning.

The fact that this expression can have different meanings is not enough to overcome the lack of distinctive character as soon as one of this meaning is descriptive for the relevant goods and services for which protection is sought.

Source:  Flavia Tamburrini (Trevisan & Cuonzo ) on Lexology.