Aldi lost a trademark dispute before the General Court of the EU

The General Court of the European Union has ruled in case  T-527/20 Aldi v EUIPO.

Registration of European trademarks can be challenging sometimes. This is due not only because trademark protection in the EU has two levels – national and community but because there are linguistic and cultural differences between the Member States.

One example about such situation is an attempt by Aldi to register the following EU figurative trademark in classes 29 and 30:

The EUIPO refused to register this sign on absolute grounds – descriptiveness, Art. 7(1)(c) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1001.

The practice for protection of EU trademarks states that when one sign is descriptive for consumers even from one part of the Union, the sign will be refused.

In the case at hand, CUCINA means kitchen for the Italian speaking people. The fact that the same mark is registered and well-known in Germany cannot overcome this conclusion.

According to Aldi, the word is not descriptive because it indicates only the place where food dished are prepared. What’s more the mark consists of combination with graphics which is enough to create the necessary distinctiveness.

The EUIPO disagreed. The graphic representation was not distinctive too because the image looks like a cooking pot. A combination between two not distinctive or descriptive elements cannot turn the sign to be distinctive as a whole.

The decision was upheld by the General Court.

Source: Meyer-Dulheuer MD Legal Patentanwälte PartG mbB

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InBev lost a trademark lawsuit against Aldi

The Brussels Court of Appeal has ruled in a case between Aldi and InBev, which concerns an accusation that Aldi infringed InBev’s rights over Jupiler trademark in a way contrary to fair commercial practices.

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The Court, however, has concluded that there is no infringement at the case in hand because of the following:

  1. Both products are sold in different sales channels. In case of Buval, the beer is sold only in Aldi’s stores, whereas, in case of  Jupiler, the product is sold everywhere with exception of Aldi’s stores. The Court did not find any post-sales confusion, which occurs at the point of consumption rather than purchase;
  2. The consumers have become used to the red, black and white colors in relation to various brewers;
  3. The consumers have become used to the use of shields and animals with regard to beer packaging by various brewers.

Source: CMS Belgium, Lexology.