Comparaison de marques composées de lettres: le cas de la lettre “H”

On December 18, 2009, the Opposition Division of the OHIM upheld that the two marks for the letter “H” – represented below – could not cause confusion. The Examiner said the marks did not coincide visually in any element. Aurally, the signs might be pronounced as “H” to the extent that the public not only sees them as devices.

Conceptually, the marks did not convey any meaning. Because of the goods at hands (class 25), the visual impression was regarded as the most important aspect to consider.

The Examiner concluded that the letters per se being generally devoid of distinctiveness and possessing protection only for their specific representation, the marks at hands are overall dissimilar.

The solution is in line with the Community case-law which restrictively grants protection to single letters unless very specific circumstances exist. This shows the strategic approach and considerations to apply before bringing any action based on trademarks composed of letters.

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