The Jeff Bezos’ nonprofit organization “The Bezos Family Foundation” lost a trademark dispute in the EU.
The case concerns an EU trademark application ‘Vroom’ filed by the foundation in 2017 for – computer software, specifically “a mobile application for providing information and learning and educational activities and games in the field of early child development and early childhood education.
Against this application an opposition was filed by the France’s national state-owned railway company SNCF Mobilités based on an earlier French trademark for ‘Pop & Vroom’ for software.
The EUIPO upheld the opposition finding both signs and their goods similar enough to create a confusion in the consumer mind.
The decision was appealed. The foundation claimed that both marks were not similar. The reason for this was that the leading element of the earlier mark is POP which attracts consumer’s attention because as a general rule of thumb the first part of a trademark is more important from that point of view. In addition, the goods in the marks target different audiences. While in the case of the foundation’s mark the software focuses on children education, in the case of earlier mark the focus is on a software for transport services.
The General Court of the European Union dismissed the appeal. According to the Court the signs are visually and phonetically similar to average degree. The fact that the first part of the earlier sign is different is not enough to overcome the similarity because for trademark assessment is important the entire impression produced by the sign.
The Court considers that when a trademark owner register its mark for one a general good, in this case software, the owner has the right to use it for different types of software. In this way, the stated difference in consumers targeting is not sufficient argument.