In a recent decision, the Federal Administrative Court in Switzerland, on appeal from the Swiss Intellectual Property Office, dismissed an opposition by Yves Saint Laurent ("YSL") against the registration of the mark "SL Skinny Love" on grounds that there was not a likelihood of confusion between the two marks in relation to goods in class 25.
YSL's opposition was based on their earlier mark, the YSL monogram featuring the overlapping letters "Y", "S" and "L". In contrast, SL Skinny Love monogram features the letter "L" on top of the letter "S" with the words "Skinny Love" underneath the monogram.
The court held that the case law did not support a likelihood of confusion in acronyms and marks of three letters or less, and furthermore, the inclusion of the words "Skinny Love" enabled relevant consumers to identify that the "SL" acronym meant "Skinny Love", which thereby negated the likelihood of confusion between the two marks.
Whilst the decision may have been based on case law precedent and the fear of providing one entity with a monopoly on an acronym, the outcome of the decision is perhaps even more galling when considered that the creative director of YSL, Hedi Slimane, is synonymous with the skinny fit men's suit.
For further details see Decision B-2296/2014 of 29 June 2015.in: Case Law, News, Trade Marks