Feet story and latin tongue

In case T-286/08, the General Court considered that the word mark HALLUX was descriptive in class 10 for ‘orthopaedic articles’ and in class 25 for ‘shoes’. This may look weird at first sight but, for those familiar with Latin, HALLUX means ‘big toe’ … Who said that dead tongues served to nothing?

On a more serious note, HALLUX is commonly used in the medical practice for naming a foot deformation… The Court said that the public was composed of health professionals and patients suffering from feet malformations, with high level of care and who would then be well informed and well aware to the point that the mark would indicate the aim of such goods.

The reasoning is more of an extreme approach as to the refusal of the mark for shoes in class 25. The Court considered surrounding and practical elements rather than the mark itself by taking into account that sellers could give advice on how comfortable the shoes would be given the usual activities of the applicant.


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