The Opposition division of EUIPO decided that international trademark registration No 1 494 887 shall be entirely refused protection in respect of the European Union. The relevant opposition was filed by IPConsulting Ltd. on behalf of Revuele Ltd., Sofia, Bulgaria.
The opponent filed an opposition against all the goods of international trademark registration designating the European Union No 1 494 887 ‘Skin Compliments’ (word mark). The opposition is based on, inter alia, European Union trade mark registration No 10 411 601 ‘COMPLIMENT’ (word mark). The opponent invoked Article 8(1)(b) EUTMR.
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, under the assumption that they bear the trade marks in question, come from the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically linked undertakings.
The relevant factors relating to the comparison of the goods or services include, inter alia, the nature and purpose of the goods or services, the distribution channels, the sales outlets, the producers, the method of use and whether they are in competition with each other or complementary to each other.
The contested goods in Class 3 and 5 are found by EUIPO Opposition division to be identical with the ones of the earlier European Union trade mark registration.
Relevant public — degree of attention
The average consumer of the category of products concerned is deemed to be reasonably well informed and reasonably observant. The goods found to be identical or similar target the public at large and business customers with specific professional knowledge or expertise.
The degree of attention in the present case may vary from average (for the goods in Class 3) to above-average (for the goods in Class 5).
The signs and the distinctiveness of the earlier European Union trade mark
Earlier trade mark
The unitary character of the European Union trade mark means that an earlier EUTM 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. Therefore, a likelihood of confusion for only part of the relevant public of the European Union is sufficient to reject the contested application.
Visually and aurally, the signs coincide in the string of letters ‘COMPLIMENT’ of their distinctive verbal element ‘COMPLIMENT/s’. They differ in the contested sign’s additional verbal element ‘Skin’, which has very little (if any) distinctiveness. Therefore, the signs are visually and aurally highly similar.
Conceptually, as the signs will be associated with the same meaning of their distinctive verbal elements ‘COMPLIMENT/s’, the signs are conceptually highly similar.
Conclusion regarding the international trademark registration and the earlier European Union trade mark
There is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public that is familiar with English. As stated above, a likelihood of confusion for only part of the relevant public of the European Union is sufficient to reject the contested application.
Therefore, the opposition is well founded on the basis of the opponent’s European Union trade mark registration No 10 411 601. It follows that the contested trade mark must be rejected for all the contested goods.