Peppa Pig succeeds at the EU General Court
The EU figurative trade mark for the well-known children’s character, Peppa Pig, has prevailed in a three-year invalidity battle against an EU figurative trade mark for what is described as a ‘tapir head on a human body’ teamed with the wording “TOBBIA” (“the Tobbia sign”). The Peppa Pig sign depicts the pig in black and white above the wording “Peppa Pig”.
The owner of the ‘Peppa Pig’ sign, Entertainment One UK Limited, first brought invalidity proceedings to the EUIPO Cancellation Division in 2016. It argued that, because the signs were both registered in class 25 for the same goods, including clothing, footwear and headgear, the Tobbia sign would be confusingly similar to the Peppa Pig sign. Their request for a declaration of invalidity was initially rejected, however, following a number of appeals, the General Court has now concluded the invalidity of the Tobbia sign.
In its analysis of the two signs in question, the General Court assessed the visual, phonetic and conceptual similarity of the signs and the overall impression given by them commenting that the average consumer tends to look at a sign as a whole without paying much attention to the details of it. The Court found that there were clear similarities between the signs such as the shape of the head, ears, cheeks, eyes and mouth of the animals depicted.
The Court dismissed the argument put forward by the owner of the Tobbia sign, that the animal in the sign is a tapir and not a pig, as it considered that the similarity of the signs were significant to the extent that it was irrelevant what the animal was.
The Court then considered the aural elements of the signs. Albeit noting a clear difference between the words ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Tobbia’, the Court noted the correlation between “peppa” and “tobbia” in that they are both words consisting of two syllables with double letters in the middle of them.
As a result of the above the Court held this was sufficient to establish a similarity between the signs.