When trademarks are not identical, the CJEC classical approach is to prove a possible confusion between the signs. Recent cases apply a former analysis tending to consider that the sole partial reproduction of the earlier right is sufficient to lead to confusion.
CARPO vs./ CARPOVIRUSINE On December 14, 2005, CARPO and CARPOVIRUSINE trademarks were considered similar for inter alia fungicides and herbicides, in class 5 by the European Court of first Instance.
The judges considered CARPO as distinctive as it belongs to scientific language, and pointed out the weak distinctive character of VIRUSINE, containing the common name VIRUS, easily identified and evocative of virus elimination. Quite a controversial decision, as VIRUS is included in the whole neologism VIRUSINE and does not really stand out. Moreover, VIRUS would be considered rather evocative of medicines than of fungicides.
NICE GIRL vs./ NICE On December 2005, the OHIM rejected the trademark application NICE because of the prior mark NICE GIRL, both for clothes. NICE was considered as the dominant component of the earlier sign, and besides placed in the beginning.
A high phonetically similarity was also granted because the word girl may be perceived as a simple reference to the type of clothing, then it would receive less emphasis during pronunciation. The same reasoning was applied to appreciate the overall likelihood of confusion, as NICE GIRL could be perceived as a simple sub-brand of NICE.