Appello delll’EUIPO su marchio di forma/di posizione

Il 5 board of appeal del l’EUIPO del 29.08.2022, R 197/2021-5 , Blake Holdings appl./appellant, decide un interessante fattispecie di marchio di posizione e/o di forma, consistente in colore grigio applicato a battistrada e porzione laterale esterna di copertoni da camion (“The trade mark comprises the tread and outer portion of a tyre in colour light grey (“Pantone 7527 C”) depicted in the area outside the outer broken line, as shown in the attached representation.”>>).

Ravvisa che manchi di distintività, perchè non si distanzia a sufficienza dalle caratteristiche dei copertoni normalmente reperlbili sul mercato


<< 48   Therefore, contrary to the applicant’s statements, both the claimed light grey
colour and its particular position on the tread and outer portion of the off road tyre
are far for being ‘distinct’ or unique. Thus, taken as a whole, the trade mark
applied for will be perceived only as one of the variants of similar part of off road
tyres existing on the market.

29/08/2022, R 197/2021-5, Outer portion of a tyre in colour light grey (position)
49    In this regard, the Board further recalls that a mere departure from the norm or
customs of the sector is not sufficient to overcome the ground for refusal set out
in Article 7(1)(b) EUTMR. For the mark to fulfil its essential function, namely, to
indicate commercial origin, the difference between the sign applied for and the
norms or customs of the sector must be significant (12/02/2004, C-218/01,
Perwoll, EU:C:2004:88, § 49). In other words, any divergence from the way in
which the competing goods are presented is not sufficient in itself to guarantee
the existence of distinctive character. This difference must also be ‘significant’
and therefore immediately apparent to consumers.
50    What is more, a feature displayed in a sign which is functional in nature and
purpose will generally not be able to confer distinctiveness on the mark, as it will
be associated by the target consumer merely with that specific function, and not as
an indicator of commercial origin, and this, independently of whether the (much
stricter) conditions of Article 7(1)(e) EUTMR are also fulfilled (12/09/2013, T-
492/11, Tampon, EU:T:2013:421, § 23; 18/01/2013, T-137/12, Vibrator,
EU:T:2013:26, § 27; 14/11/2016, R 1067/2016-4, Schlüsselprofil, § 21). In the
present case, as indicated in the communication of Rapporteur of 5 May 2022, the
position mark at stake, consisting of the tread and outer portion of a tyre in light
grey, could also be seen as having a certain functionality, i.e. leaving no black
marks on floors during operations. Contrary to the applicant’s submissions, the
Board observes that that the use of tyres with non-marking properties is
potentially of interest also in relation to the claimed goods, i.e., ‘Off road tires
used with construction, industrial and agricultural equipment; none of the
aforesaid being off road tires for forklift trucks’, including the specific goods for
which the applicant claims that the position mark in question will be used, namely
tyres for Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs), as the examples provided by the
rapporteur show>>.

Pertanto :

<< 51  Taking into account all the above, the Board considers that the sign applied for
cannot be considered to depart significantly from the appearance of (part of) tyres
already found on the market. The relevant public, who is confronted with
numerous more or less similar tyres, will neither carry out a detailed analysis nor
a side by side comparison between the trade mark applied for and the other tyres
on the market, and will therefore perceive the mark applied for solely as being a
mere variety of the tread and outer portion of such tyres. There is no evidence that
the public at large or even the professionals would perceive the sign at hand as a
badge of origin.
52 Therefore, contrary to the applicant’s arguments, none of the features invoked or
their combination support the conclusion that the sign applied for departs
significantly from the norms and customs of the sector. It will therefore not be
perceived as a trade mark without having acquired distinctive character through

(decisione segnalata da Nedim Malovic in IPKat)