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News article | 5 May 2021 | Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Huawei vs Chanel and Colin the caterpillar protecting its trademark

Huawei vs Chanel

 

Good morning everyone. It’s already May… time is flying! For this week’s IP news:

 

Huawei vs Chanel

In this 4-year-old case, Chanel was seeking to block Huawei’s trademark registration before the EUIPO for use on computer hardware and software programs on the basis that the mark is too similar to its famed double “C” logo.

In its opposition, Chanel argued that its interlocking C’s logo is registered for use on goods in Class 9 (namely, “cameras, sunglasses, glasses; earphones and headphones; computer hardware”), the same class in which Huawei is looking to register its logo, and alleged that Huawei’s mark is confusingly similar. Chanel also tried to rely on its longstanding registration for cosmetics, arguing that allowing Huawei’s registration would enable the Chinese giant to inappropriately benefit from the fame of Chanel’s mark.

After a series of defeats before the EUIPO’s Opposition Division and the Board of Appeal, the EU General Court also sided with Huawei in this matter. The General Court recognised that both trademarks bear some similarities (a black circle, two interlaced curves, which the circle surrounds, also black, intersecting in an inverted mirror image, and a central ellipse, resulting from the intersection of the curves). However, these marks are visually different: a more rounded shape of the curves and the thickness of the lines. So, bottom line, no visual similarity was found between the two of them. The Court held that there was no conceptual similarity either (conceptual similarity exists when two trademarks are composed of elements that have the same semantic content).  

With that in mind, the General Court established that as the signs at issue are not similar, the other relevant factors for the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion cannot under any circumstances offset and make up for that dissimilarity, and that therefore there is no need to examine them. Huawei’s trademark can now go on with the registration process.

Huawei vs Chanel

 

 

Colin the caterpillar

Chocolate matters can be very serious. Colin (Marks & Spencer) and Cuthbert (Aldi) are in the middle of a legal battle for trademark infringement. Indeed,
M&S owns a number of trademarks to protect Colin’s brand, including for the name “Colin, the caterpillar” as well as for the image of the Colin in his packaging (https://www.tmdn.org/tmview/#/tmview/detail/GB500000003509740).

 

Colin the caterpillar
Colin the caterpillar

Image from PrimaryCoHead
(
https://twitter.com/PrimaryCoHead/status/1382786660518203393?s=20)

But why against Aldi when there is a vast array of infringing chocolate caterpillars? (as proved by the picture below, Colin is the first left upper corner and Cuthbert is on the bottom right lower corner).

Well, yes there are others, but Cuthbert is the one that bears more similarities: the eyes, shape of their faces, smarties on top of the caterpillar and packaging style are all, allegedly, similar. Therefore, there is a likelihood of confusion, and because of these similarities Aldi may be taking unfair advantage of M&S' reputation, which is detrimental to the distinctive character of the M&S trademark.

 

This is all for this week’s news. See you next week!

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Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises