EUIPO Opposition Department decided to reject European Union trade mark application No 16 465 338 in its entirety following a well founded opposition filed by IPConsulting Ltd. on behalf of Florian OOD. The opposition is based on earlier European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) registration No 11 545 472.
The goods on which the opposition is based are, inter alia Class 1: Chemicals used in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; manures; liquid, granulated and mineral fertilisers.
All the goods of the contested European Union trade mark application are included in the opponent’s chemicals used in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. All these goods are therefore considered identical to the opponent’s goods.
Relevant public — degree of attention
The goods found to be identical are directed both at the public at large and at customers with specific professional knowledge or expertise (e.g. farmers, plant growers, etc.). The degree of attention may vary from average to high, depending on the specificities, price and frequency of purchase of the goods.
The unitary character of the European Union trade mark (EUTM) means that an earlier European Union trade mark can be relied on in opposition proceedings against any application for registration of a European Union trade mark that would adversely affect the protection of the first mark, even if only in relation to the perception of consumers in part of the European Union. Therefore, a likelihood of confusion for only part of the relevant public of the European Union is sufficient to reject the contested application.
Evaluating likelihood of confusion implies some interdependence between the relevant factors. In particular, a similarity between the marks and between the goods or services are being considered. Therefore, a lesser degree of similarity between goods and services may be offset by a greater degree of similarity between the marks and vice.
In the present case, the goods are identical and are directed at both public at large and professional public. The signs are visually similar at most to below an average degree. They are aurally similar at most similar to an average degree. The earlier European Union trade mark (EUTM) registration has a normal degree of distinctiveness.
According to the Opposition department of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the Bulgarian speaking part of the public. Therefore, the opposition is well founded and the European Union trade mark (EUTM) must be rejected.