Trade Marks - Ikea
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Released 23 January 2008
Trademark oppositions.IKEA Loses the Idea.
Inter-Ikea Systems BV v OHIM, 16 January 2008.
The CFI has upheld the OHIM Board of Appeal's decision to reject an
application by IKEA to invalidate a figurative trade mark containing the word
On 7 May 2001 IDEA was registered.
IKEA was successful in support of its application that IDEA created a
likelihood of confusion, within the meaning of Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation No
40/94, with its figurative mark IKEA. In short IDEA registration was
invalidated. The owner of IDEA appealed.
In accordance with settled case-law, the perception in the mind of the
average consumer of the goods or services in question plays a decisive role in
the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion. It should be borne in mind
that the average consumer’s level of attention is likely to vary according to
the category of goods or services in question (Case T-355/02 Mülhens v OHIM –
Zirh International(ZIRH)  ECR II-791.
Held that IDEA and IKEA were visually and conceptually dissimilar – in other
words, by reference to two out of three possible bases for comparison – and that
outweighed their aural similarity. The aural aspect would prevail only if aural
perception were generally the means by which the public had contact with the
goods and services concerned. In the present case, however, that is not the
situation, because furniture is rarely ordered orally: consumers prefer to
examine furniture visually before buying, since functional and aesthetic
considerations play a decisive role in their choice. In addition, consumers tend
to be observant, owing to the relatively high price of furniture and because of
the aesthetic considerations. It follows, that the marks at issue are not
similar and that there is no likelihood of confusion within the meaning of
Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation No 40/94.
Michael Coyle is a solicitor
advocate who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property
About the Author
Lawdit Solicitors offer services and
advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal
agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on
Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court
Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign
association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-01-27 22:12:30 in Legal Articles