Migraine and trademarks – an EU Court decision

The European Court has ruled in two cases related to an attempt by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to register the following European trademarks:

– Moins de migraine pour vivre mieux ( in French – Less migraine to live better)

– Weniger Migräne. Mehr vom Leben ( in German – Less migraines. More from life)

Both marks are applied for in classes:

– 16 Printed materials relating to the treatment of migraines.

– 44 Providing information relating to the treatment of migraines.

The EUIPO refused to register these slogans as trademarks based on absolute grounds – lack of distinctive character. According to the Office these slogans cannot indicate source of trade origin because they have clear and direct messages related to the goods and services in their applications.

Teva appealed before the European Court arguing that both sign are distinctive for these specific goods and services and adding the fact that the company already have registration for a similar slogan but in English – LESS MIGRAINE, MORE MOMENTS.

The EU Court upheld the EUIPO decision as correct. Although it is typical slogans to convey a message to consumers, they can be trademarks only in case they have the necessary level of distinctiveness.

In the case at hand, both slogans have a clear messages that suggests an alleviation of the migraine pain.

In contrast, the English slogan has more blurred and unusual nature which requires additional considerations by the consumers. That’s why it can serve as a trademark sign because it doesn’t provide a direct and clear meaning related to the goods and services.

Source: Meyer-Dulheuer MD Legal Patentanwälte PartG mbB за Lexology.