Marchio rinomato cede a marchio anteriore non rinomato

il Trib UE decide l’opposiizone alla registazione di mrachio da prate del Ac Milan: Trib. Ue 10.11.2021, T-353/20, aC Milan spa c. EUIPO. L’oppositore è titolare di marchio denominativo <Milan> del 1984, § 53, mentre il deposito di marchio figurativo (§ 2) dell’AC Milano è del 2o17.

I prodotti o servizi sono quasi identici (penne, carte, quaderni e materiali di cancelleria) , per cui la lite si giuoca sulla somiglianza tra marchi.

Centrale è , comprensibilmente, il giudizio sulla preminenza o meno del segno figurativo nei due marchi. Contraraumetne a quanto di solito si ritiene, qui non lo è per il marhcio anteriore, date laa sua ridotta evidenza, § 57 ss.

Analoga preminenza anche per il segno del depositante AC Milan, § 84 ss.

Pertanto la somiglianza tra segni è quasi scontata.

La soc. del team calcistico perde dunque sia la fase amminsitrativa sia il primo grado giudiziale.

Ricordo solo due aspetti:

  1. le iniziali considerazioni generali, slegate dal (ma poi applicate al) caso de quo:

    << In interpreting the concept of genuine use, account must be taken of the fact that the ratio legis for the requirement that the earlier mark must have been put to genuine use is not intended to assess the commercial success or control the economic strategy of an undertaking or to restrict the protection of marks only to their quantitatively significant commercial exploitation (judgments of 8 July 2004, T‑203/02, Sunrider v OHIM – Espadafor Caba(VITAFRUIT), T‑203/02, EU:T:2004:225, paragraph 38, and of 2 February 2016, Benelli Q. J. v OHMI – Demharter (MOTOBI B PESARO), T‑171/13, EU:T:2016:54, paragraph 68). A trade mark is put to genuine use when it is used, in accordance with its essential function of guaranteeing the identity of origin of the goods or services for which it is registered, in order to create or maintain an outlet for those goods or services, to the exclusion of uses of a symbolic nature the sole purpose of which is to maintain the rights conferred by the trade mark (see judgment of 8 June 2017, W. F. Gözze Frottierweberei and Gözze, C‑689/15, EU:C:2017:434, paragraph 37 and the case-law cited).

    24      In order to examine, in a particular case, the genuineness of the use of an earlier mark, an overall assessment must be made, taking into account all the relevant factors of the case. That assessment implies a certain interdependence between the factors taken into account. Therefore, a low volume of goods marketed under that mark may be offset by a high intensity or consistency of use of that mark over time, and vice versa. Furthermore, the turnover achieved and the quantity of sales of goods under the earlier mark cannot be assessed in absolute terms, but must be assessed in relation to other relevant factors, such as the volume of commercial activity, the production or marketing capacities or the degree of diversification of the undertaking exploiting the mark and the characteristics of the goods or services on the market concerned (see judgment of 8 July 2004, VITAFRUIT, T‑203/02, EU:T:2004:225, paragraph 42 and the case-law cited).

    25      Moreover, genuine use of a trade mark cannot be demonstrated by probabilities or presumptions, but must be based on concrete and objective elements which prove actual and sufficient use of the trade mark on the relevant market (see judgments of 16 June 2015, Polytetra v OHIM – EI du Pont de Nemours (POLYTETRAFLON), T‑660/11, EU:T:2015:387, paragraph 47 and the case-law cited, and of 9 September 2015, Inditex v OHIM – Ansell (ZARA), T‑584/14, not published, EU:T:2015:604, paragraph 19 and the case-law cited).

    26      Genuine use of the trade mark presupposes that it is used publicly and externally, and not only within the undertaking concerned (see, to that effect, judgment of 11 March 2003, Ansul, C‑40/01, EU:C:2003:145, paragraph 37). However, external use of a trade mark is not necessarily equivalent to use directed towards final consumers. Actual use of the mark relates to the market in which the proprietor of the mark carries on business and in which he or she hopes to exploit his or her mark. Thus, to consider that the external use of a trade mark, within the meaning of the case-law, necessarily consists of use directed towards final consumers would be tantamount to excluding trade marks used solely in business-to-business relationships from the protection of Regulation No 207/2009. The relevant public to which trade marks are intended to be directed does not include only final consumers, but also specialists, industrial customers and other professional users (see judgment of 7 July 2016, Fruit of the Loom v EUIPO – Takko (FRUIT), T‑431/15, not published, EU:T:2016:395, paragraph 49 and the case-law cited)>>.

  2. i fatti dedotti dallopponente per provare il suo <uso effettivo>, § 29:

    –     an undated affidavit from its Managing Director certifying annual turnover figures for the period 2010 to 2016;

    –        advertising material in German (numerous copies of catalogues and leaflets) dating from 2009 to 2014 for goods bearing the earlier mark;

    –        a copy of 43 invoices issued in the period between 2008 and 2014, addressed to various customers in Germany;

    –        documents concerning turnover and sales figures, dating from the years 2008 to 2016;

    –        price lists from 2008 to 2014 showing the suppliers of the products of the other party to the proceedings before the Board of Appeal.

Non si discute della validità del marchio anteriore, che potrebbe a sua volta essere stato anticipato dall’uso di fatto (non dalla registrazione, suppontgo, interventua appunto nel 2017) del segno da aprte del team calcistico.

Probabilmente difettava l’affinità merceologica, essendo assai discutibile che possa essere superata dalla rinomanza qualora non vi sia registrazione ma appunto solo uso di fatto.

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