SpagO n’est pas SPA

CFI – November 12, 2009- SPA / SPAGO

On November 12, 2009, the European Court of First Instance upheld a low similarity between the Community trademark application for SpagO in class 33 and the earlier mark SPA in class 32.

The marks at hands being short in length, the attention of the public was regarded as remaining on them as a whole i.e. without splitting them into several distinct parts. The inclusion of capital letters at the beginning and at the end of the contested trademark and the addition of the suffix “GO” enabled to make a visual and aural distinction between the marks. No conceptual comparison was performed as SpagO was deprived of meaning whereas SPA would refer to the town of Spa in Belgium.

The products were found of a different nature because of their characteristics, habits of the public when consuming them (on special and convivial occasions / on a daily basis), satisfaction of different needs, awareness as to the distinction between alcoholic and non-alcoholic products and respective range of prices.

The Court reminded that the reputation enjoyed by an earlier mark cannot serve to compensate the lack of similarity between the signs: the signs marks must already be found as similar for a trademark application to possibly be regarded as detrimental to a an earlier trademark enjoying reputation.

Leave a Comment