Rolex SA has faced a blow in its opposition proceedings at the EU Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) against Danish fashion group PWT A/S (“PWT”).
Back in June 2016, Rolex opposed PWT’s application for a trade mark at the EUIPO for use on clothing footwear and headgear on the grounds it would infringe its own trade marks. The applied for mark features a crown logo. Rolex claims the mark is too similar to its own well-known crown mark and PWT will take unfair advantage of Rolex’s reputation. The opposition was upheld and PWT appealed the decision.
This week, the appeal was upheld with the EU General Court siding against Rolex and ruling that the likelihood of confusion between Rolex’s crown logo used on watches and PWT’s crown logo used on clothing, footwear and headgear is low. The court further ruled that there is no reputation in Rolex’s crown logo on its own, the reputation only exists in the crown logo when used in conjunction with the Rolex name.
This issue as to whether watches and clothing are similar goods has come before EU authorities on several occasions in the past given the fact clothing and accessories are often deemed by the fashion industry as necessary to complete a whole look. However, this ruling shows the courts are minded to consider watches and clothing as dissimilar goods in this respect.
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