Come condurre il giudizio di contraffazione tra due marchi, uno denominativo e l’altro figurativo/denominativo (con parola capovolta)

Trib. UE 01.06.2022 , T-363/20 , PAo Moskow v. EUIPO, giudica della confondibilità trea i seguenti due marchi (per prodotti uguali: dolciumi):

marchio posteriore, oggetto di contestazione
marchio anteriore, azionato dall’impugnante

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Interessa sopratutto la parte relativa alla ravvisabilità o meno di una componente predominante (evidentemente nel marchio sub iudice), che precede il consueto giudizio sulla somigliana visuale, fonetica econcettuale (a  § 74 ss)

Il T. conferma il giudizio amministrativo per cui non può ravvisari una componente dominante.

Il punto pià interenssante è l’elemento denominativo <krowka> alll’interno della figura e la sua collocazione rovesciata che ne riduce la leggibilità:

<< 55   Second, it must be held that the Board of Appeal did not make an error of assessment in finding that the contested mark did not contain any element which was more visually eye-catching than others. More specifically, it was justified in finding that, contrary to the applicant’s contentions, the element ‘krówka’, positioned upside down in the rectangle situated in the upper part of that mark, did not constitute a dominant element of that mark.

56      In that regard, first of all, it should be noted that the applicant misinterprets the contested decision in so far as it submits that the Board of Appeal found that the element ‘krówka’ will not be perceived by the relevant public, whereas the Board of Appeal merely noted, in paragraph 31 of the contested decision, that that public will have difficulty in perceiving and reading that element, without, however, taking the view that it was negligible.

57      In any event, that finding of the Board of Appeal can only be upheld. As the Board of Appeal correctly stated in paragraph 31 of the contested decision, consumers in the European Union usually read from left to right, and not from right to left, reversing the letters. It cannot therefore be disputed that, in the light of the way in which it is represented in the contested mark, the element ‘krówka’, even if it cannot be described as illegible, will not be immediately identified by the relevant public, that is to say, without a certain mental effort on its part. That public will have even greater difficulty reading that element because it does not proceed to analyse the various details of the mark when making a purchase (see, to that effect, judgment of 11 November 2009, Frag Comercio Internacional v OHIM – Tinkerbell Modas (GREEN by missako), T‑162/08, not published, EU:T:2009:432, paragraph 43). As EUIPO correctly observes, that would be all the more true in the situation, defended by the applicant, where the relevant public has only a low level of attention.

58      The two reviews produced by the applicant during the proceedings before the Board of Appeal, which establish that consumers are able to recognise words written upside down, are not such as to call into question the considerations set out in paragraphs 55 to 57 above. As the Board of Appeal correctly pointed out in paragraph 32 of the contested decision, the hypotheses covered by those reviews can be distinguished from the circumstances of the present case, in which the element ‘krówka’, represented upside down, is preceded by another word, also represented upside down, and those two elements will be perceived by the relevant public as being invented words and in which they are followed by the expression ‘milk fudge’ written upright, which, for its part, is easily legible.

59      In short, the element ‘krówka’ is only one of the non-negligible elements which make up the contested mark. Even if the attention of the relevant public were to be drawn more by the word elements of that mark, this would be more by the expression ‘milk fudge’ than by the element ‘krówka’, if only because the two elements making up that expression are not upside down. In addition, the element ‘krówka’ is not isolated, but is preceded by the element ‘mleczna’, which is also represented upside down.

60      Next, it is to no avail that the applicant relies on the fact that the contested mark could also be viewed when turned upside down. In that regard, it should be borne in mind that, when assessing whether they are identical or similar, signs must be compared in the form in which they are protected, that is to say, as they were registered or as they appear in the application for registration. The actual or potential use of registered marks in another form is irrelevant when comparing signs (judgment of 21 April 2021, Chanel v EUIPO – Huawei Technologies (Representation of a circle containing two interlaced curves), T‑44/20, not published, EU:T:2021:207, paragraph 25).

61      The orientation of signs, as set out in the application for registration, may have an impact on the scope of their protection and, consequently, in order to avoid any uncertainty and doubt, the comparison between the signs can be carried out only on the basis of the shapes and orientations in which those signs are registered or applied for (judgment of 21 April 2021, Representation of a circle containing two interlaced curves, T‑44/20, not published, EU:T:2021:207, paragraph 26).

62      Lastly, as EUIPO correctly submits, it is irrelevant that, in EUIPO’s register, the contested mark is described as containing the element ‘krówka’, given that that register will not be consulted by the relevant public>>