CFI – November 11, 2009 : CICATRAL / CITRACAL
The European Court of First Instant upheld yesterday a similarity between “dietary supplements, including those inclusive of calcium salt” and “healing salves”. The Court reasoning is based on the identity of nature, function and purpose of the products (treatment of human health problems) and the same ultimate consumers, manufacturers and distribution channels. This decision goes quite beyond the usually encountered situation when it comes to “dietary supplements” or “food supplements” products as their similarity was rather ruled when compared with “pharmaceutical products” specified in such broad terms.
The signs, CICATRAL and CITRACAL, are surprisingly also found similar. They both start with “CI” and end with “AL” and the inversion of the middle syllables is not regarded as sufficient to disturb the overall similarity. The allusion they might respectively bring to (“scar” for CICATRAL / “citric” for CITRACAL) is not a strong enough image for the Court offsetting the visual and phonetic similarity. That is rude to us. The inverted letters found in the middle of the marks occupy the largest portion of the signs and they do indeed create a quite striking difference in terms of sound. Said allusions raised by the marks cannot be minored that much. They should have brought to exclude a likelihood of confusion when combined with those differences in sound.