The Court of Justice of the EU held in Case T-328/17 that a lower degree of distinctiveness of the earlier mark does not preclude the risk of confusion between the signs.

The Foundation for the Protection of Cypriot Cheese Halloumi (Foundation for the Protection of Traditional Cheese of Cyprus named Halloumi), is the proprietor of the European Union collective mark „HALLOUMI“. Of course, this security lock is registered in the classification of goods and services for food products, especially for raw products.

The European Union collective mark is a type of EU trademark that makes it possible to distinguish the goods or services of the members of an association that is the proprietor of a trademark from those of other companies.

The proprietor of this mark noticed that proceedings were pending before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for registration of the figurative sign „BBQLOUMI“, initiated by the Bulgarian company MJ Dairies EOOD, also for raw products.

In that procedure for registration of the trademark „BBQLOUMI“, the Foundation for the Protection of Cypriot Cheese, Halloumi, filed a notice of opposition to registration of that sign. In their view, the term „HALLOUMI“ in the perception of the average consumer is perceived as such a cheese.

The appellant was neither successful in his arguments, in the opposition proceedings nor in the action on the action against the rejection of the oppositions. The Court pointed out that the mark consisting of the name halloumi, which designates a particular type of cheese, was poorly distinguished and therefore the likelihood of confusion could not be confirmed at all.

However, in the appeal proceedings, the court agreed with the Foundation´s reasoning in holding that, despite the weak distinctive character of the earlier mark, the possibility of confusion was not ruled out.

After reexamining the case, nevertheless, The General Court remained to the detriment of the Foundation in its decision. However, it is at least an interesting substantive and procedural decision in the field of trademark law, which we have been working on in our office for a long time.

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  • AuthorAdmin
  • Date03.02.2021