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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 idea.

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) [2004] 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 law.

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

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