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The registrability of laudatory marks

Print publication

21/09/2016

The General Court has rejected an appeal against a decision of the EU Intellectual Property Office which refused an application to register the figurative mark MARK 1 for cigarettes, cigars and related goods.  [1]

The Court concluded that the sign had a clear laudatory and promotional meaning for the goods concerned, suggesting to the relevant public the idea of the “number one brand”. Consumers would not perceive any indication of commercial origin, rather they would simply see promotional information.  As such, the mark was not registrable.

The Court explained that the fact that a mark had a laudatory connotation did not of itself mean that the mark was not registrable; it could be registrable in such a case provided also that it served as an indication of origin. However, in the opinion of the Court, the MARK 1 sign did not do this sufficiently.

The Court also considered that the visual presentation of the sign lacked distinctive character.

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[1] Case T-23/15 GRE Grand River Enterprises Deutschland GmbH v EUIPO

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