The Court of Milan has ruled in a trademark dispute for revocation based on non-use of a sign.
The case concerns an Italian trademark “AQUA NUNTIA” registered in 2012 and equal European trademark registered in 2012. Both signs, own by an individual, target class 03 – perfumes.
Two Italian companies started to offer perfumes under brand “AQVA NVNTIA”. The owner of the earlier signs initiated lawsuits for trademark infringements. And as a logical consequence both companies filed applications for revocation of the marks based on lack of real market use.
The EUIPO revoked the European trademark.
The Italian Court did this for the Italian mark too. The owner submitted evidence for some preparation for the use of the marks such as researching perfume partners, printing brochures, registration of a domain name etc.
The Court dismissed this evidence as insufficient. The key element in order a trademark use to be proved is the consumers knowledge about the mark. The fact that some traders or distributers know about the brand is not enough for real market use in Italy.
The owner tried to warrant the lack of trademark use with her health problems throughout the years but the Court dismissed this too. The reason is that one mark can be used by third parties when this is authorized by the owner through a license. From that perspective options for use of the marks were available.