Paris Court of Appeal – October 31, 2008
In this particular case, the registration of the trademark application DIRECT SECU was challenged by the mark DIRECT SANTE. Both marks referred to insurance services.
The Court of Appeal considered that the commonality of composition between the two signs, and the fact that their first constitutive term is identical, were not sufficient to create confusion.
According to the Court, the term DIRECT will be perceived as a general reference to the conditions under which the services are offered to the consumer, i.e.: without any intermediate contributor or provider, and hence will only have a low distinguishing effect.
The comparison between the terms SECU and SANTE did not convince the judges to cancel the French trademark office’s decision, although the two terms have a medical connotation.
Even though the rationale behind the decision is understandable, an opposite decision would have been acceptable, just as well, considering that the terms have the same first letter, the same global structure, and both convey a sense of medical indication.