Ancora sul giudizio di confondibilità tra marchio denominativo e successivo marchio complessio (figurativo-denominativo)

Il Trib. UE 12.10.2022, T-222/21, Shopify c. EUIPO, interv. Rossi e altri, decide sul se l’anteriorità del marchio denominativo SHOPIFY impedisca la registrazione del seguente

(marchio posteriore)

La sentenza rieprcorre il solito iter logico per il giudizio di confondibilità e conferma la decisione di reclamo amminstrativo per cui non c’è confonbililità.-

Tra i punti più interessanti:

The relevant public for the assessment of the likelihood of confusion is composed of users likely to use both the goods or services covered by the earlier mark and those covered by the contested mark. Thus, as a general rule, where the wording of the goods or services of one mark is wider than the wording of the other, the relevant public is generally defined by the narrower wording (see judgment of 24 May 2011, ancotel v OHIM – Acotel (ancotel.), T‑408/09, not published, EU:T:2011:241, paragraphs 38 and 39 and the case-law cited), § 23.

— Assessment of the similarity between two marks means more than taking just one component of a composite trade mark and comparing it with another mark. On the contrary, the comparison must be made by examining each of the marks in question as a whole, which does not mean that the overall impression conveyed to the relevant public by a composite trade mark may not, in certain circumstances, be dominated by one or more of its components. It is only if all the other components of the mark are negligible that the assessment of the similarity can be carried out solely on the basis of the dominant element. That could be the case, in particular, where that component is capable on its own of dominating the image of that mark which members of the relevant public retain, with the result that all the other components are negligible in the overall impression created by that mark (judgments of 12 June 2007, OHIM v Shaker, C‑334/05 P, EU:C:2007:333, paragraphs 41 and 42, and of 20 September 2007, Nestlé v OHIM, C‑193/06 P, not published, EU:C:2007:539, paragraphs 42 and 43). § 40.

41      In the present case, before assessing the similarity of the signs at issue, it is necessary to examine the distinctive and dominant elements of those signs.

– gli elementi descrittivi non son dominanti  nella impressione complessiva, § 45.

— “shop” è dominante? è IL punto centralE: il Trib. dice di no :

49  In the second place, it is necessary to examine, in the light of the case-law cited in paragraph 40 above, whether or not the element ‘shop’ has a dominant role in the marks at issue.

50      So far as concerns the earlier mark, the other word component of it is the suffix ‘ify’, which, for the English-speaking public, will evoke the concept of transformation, and thus, together with the word ‘shop’, that of ‘making something become a shop’. Therefore, it is without committing an error of assessment that the Board of Appeal could find that the earlier mark, taken as a whole, was highly allusive to the goods and services aimed at creating e-commerce platforms or shopping sites that it designated for the English-speaking public. By contrast, for the non-English-speaking public, the suffix ‘ify’ has no meaning and therefore has an average distinctive character. In both cases, that additional element ‘ify’ is not negligible, within the meaning of the case-law cited in paragraph 40 above, in the earlier mark, and the element ‘shop’, which is moreover descriptive, cannot be regarded as dominant in that mark, contrary to what the applicant claims.

— bassa distinvitità del marchio anteriore, §§ 82/86

—  SHOPIFY non ha acwuisito una particlare distinvitità col tempo, § 87 ss

— infine sul giudizio finale: in the present case, the Board of Appeal considered, in essence, that, despite the identity or similarity of the goods and services concerned, given the descriptive nature of the element common to the two marks at issue, namely ‘shop’, the attention of the relevant public focused on the differentiating elements, in particular, on the ‘ify’ and ‘pi’ endings of the two signs, meaning that the coincidence between the signs resulting from the presence of the said common element was not decisive and that the similarity was weak overall. Furthermore, in view of the high level of attention for professionals and higher than average level of attention for the general public as well as the weak distinctive character of the earlier mark, there was no likelihood of confusion., § 121

e poi

Moreover, as the Board of Appeal pointed out in paragraph 93 of the contested decision, although, in accordance with the case-law of the Court of Justice, the more distinctive the earlier mark, the greater will be the likelihood of confusion, the opposite is also true. With regard to a trade mark with a weak distinctive character, and which thus has a lesser capacity to identify the goods or services for which it has been registered as coming from a particular undertaking, the degree of similarity between the signs should, in principle, be high to justify a likelihood of confusion, or this would risk granting excessive protection to that trade mark and its proprietor (see, to that effect, judgment of 5 October 2020, NATURANOVE, T‑602/19, not published, EU:T:2020:463, paragraph 56)., § 125