European union trade mark (EUTM)Velikov & Co OOD, Bulgaria, represented by IP Consulting Ltd., filed an opposition against all the goods and services in Classes 16, 29, 30, 31 and 35 of EUTM application No 17 948 564. The applicant is Aphria Inc., Canada.

The opposition is based on, inter alia, Bulgarian national trade mark registration No 90 454, ‘Solei’ (word mark).

After considering all the facts presented the Opposition Division of the European Union Intellectual Property Office decided that Opposition No B 3 073 217 against the EUTM application is well founded and the contested trademark shall be rejected for all the contested goods and services.

Undisputed likelihood of confusion

A likelihood of confusion exists if there is a risk that the public might believe that the goods or services in question, come from the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically linked undertakings. Some of the relevant factors are the similarity of the signs, the similarity of the goods and services, the distinctive and dominant elements of the conflicting signs, and the relevant public.

Goods and services of the EUTM application and the earlier trademark

According to the applicant all of the contested goods and services of the EUTM application are cannabis related products and consequently, its specific nature renders them dissimilar to any other products available to consumers. The Opposition Division is of the opinion that, in the present case, the nature of the contested goods and services is not altered by their composition, main ingredient or subject matter, and therefore, the applicant’s argument is set aside.

The contested goods in classes 16, 29, 31 and 35 are found by the Opposition Division as being identical to those of the earlier trademark. The contested goods in class 30 are considered similar to a high degree to the opponent’s goods.

Relevant public — degree of attention

Taking into account the nature of the relevant goods and services, and the purchase involvement of the relevant public, as goods containing cannabis affect their state of health, the degree of attention will vary from average to high.

The signs

EUTM application

The earlier mark is the single word ‘Solei’

The contested sign is figurative, consisting of the verbal element ‘Solei’ in a slightly stylised italic handwritten-style typeface, set against a shaded grey circle with fading edges. ‘Solei’ has no meaning for the relevant public and is, therefore, distinctive.

The sign of the contested EUTM application is composed of a distinctive verbal element and a less distinctive figurative element of a purely decorative nature which comprises the somewhat stylized typeface and the simple geometric shape of a circle with fading shades of grey. Therefore, the verbal element is more distinctive than the figurative element.

Visually, the signs coincide in containing the distinctive verbal element ‘Solei’, therefore, they are highly similar. Aurally, the pronunciation of the signs coincides in all the sound of the letters ‘‘S-o-l-e-i’’, present identically in both signs. Therefore, the signs are identical.

Considering all the above, there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public. Therefore, the opposition against EUTM application No 17 948 564 is well founded.

It follows that the contested trade mark must be rejected for all the contested goods and services due to the striking similarities between the signs.

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