Trade Mark Challenges to Become Easier?

August 7, 2013

Trade Mark Challenges to Become Easier?

A recent decision of the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) has seemingly altered the previously understood position as regards the use of similar trade marks.

The case involved an attempt to block the registration of a trade mark (in the form of a wolf’s head) by the owner of a similar trade mark.

The previously understood position (based on rulings by the European Court of Justice) regarding such challenges was that it was necessary for the business opposing the new registration to demonstrate that it would lead to a ‘consequential change in the economic behaviour of the average consumer’, thus ‘diluting’ the value of the existing trade mark.

The GCEU ruled that if there was evidence that a future detriment to the trade mark owner was likely, there was no need to demonstrate that this was likely to change the economic behaviour of the average consumer...this would be the implied result of the dilution of the trade mark.

In practice, this means that the bar has been lowered as regards the evidence required to mount a successful challenge to a trade mark application.