Sul rischio di confondibilità tra marchi per servizi di Yoga

Si considerino i segg. marchi in conflitto:



marchio successivo chiesto in registrazione

Ebbene, Trib. UE 18.01.2023, T-443/21, conferma l’ufficio ammisnitgrativo nella decisione per cui non son confondibili (merceologicamente quasi uguali).

Disposizione governante la lite: art. 8.1.b reg. 2017/1001

§§ 42, 45, 48: consumatore di media attenzione o più che media.


<< 116    In the present case, it has been established that the public to be taken into account for the purposes of examining the likelihood of confusion is the average non-English-speaking consumer in the European Union with a level of attention which varies from average to ‘above average’, depending on the category of services under consideration. That public is able to understand the meaning of the common word elements of the marks at issue. Furthermore, the services at issue in Class 41 covered by the mark applied for have been considered to be in part identical and in part similar to the services covered by the earlier mark in the same class. Furthermore, the signs at issue have been found to be visually similar to a low degree and phonetically and conceptually similar to an average degree. Lastly, it is apparent from the analysis carried out in paragraphs 110 to 113 above that the inherent distinctive character of the earlier mark is weak.

117    As a preliminary point, in accordance with the principle of the interdependence between the factors to be taken into consideration when examining the likelihood of confusion, it must be noted, as EUIPO rightly pointed out, that the ratio legis of trade mark law is to strike a balance between the interest which the proprietor of a trade mark has in safeguarding its essential function, on the one hand, and the interests of other economic operators in having signs capable of denoting their products and services, on the other (see, by analogy, judgment of 6 February 2014, Leidseplein Beheer and de Vries, C‑65/12, EU:C:2014:49, paragraph 41).

118    It follows that excessive protection of marks consisting of elements which, as in the present case, have very weak distinctive character, if any, in relation to the services at issue could adversely affect the attainment of the objectives pursued by trade mark law, if, in the context of the assessment of the likelihood of confusion, the mere presence of such elements in the signs at issue led to a finding of a likelihood of confusion without taking into account the remainder of the specific factors in the present case.

119    It should be remembered that the visual, phonetic or conceptual aspects of the signs at issue do not always have the same weight and it is appropriate, in that global assessment, to take into account the nature of the services at issue and to examine the objective conditions under which the marks may appear on the market (see judgment of 26 June 2008, SHS Polar Sistemas Informáticos v OHIM – Polaris Software Lab (POLARIS), T‑79/07, not published, EU:T:2008:230, paragraph 49 and the case-law cited).

120    Thus, in accordance with the case-law cited in paragraph 119 above, in the present case, it must be held that, in view of the fact that the phonetic and conceptual similarities are based exclusively on word elements which are devoid of distinctive character, the clear visual differences between them have a greater impact in the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion.

121    In that regard, it should be borne in mind that, where the earlier trade mark and the sign whose registration is sought coincide in an element that is weakly distinctive with regard to the goods at issue, the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion within the meaning of Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation 2017/1001 does not often lead to a finding that such likelihood exists (see, to that effect, judgment of 18 June 2020, Primart v EUIPO, C‑702/18 P, EU:C:2020:489, paragraph 53 and the case-law cited).

122    In those circumstances, it must be held that, in the context of a global assessment of the likelihood of confusion, having regard to the weak distinctive character of the common elements ‘yoga alliance’, the presence of figurative elements which are visually very different will enable the average consumer to make a clear distinction between the marks at issue, even for the part of the relevant public with an average level of attention, despite the identical or similar character of the services at issue. That is all the more true for the part of the relevant public with an above average level of attention. Accordingly, it follows that the Board of Appeal’s error in relation to the level of attention of the relevant public in respect of the ‘educational’ services found in paragraph 50 above cannot have a decisive effect on the outcome of the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion.

123    It follows from all the foregoing considerations that the Board of Appeal correctly concluded that there was no likelihood of confusion on the part of the relevant public as regards the fact that the services at issue may come from the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically linked undertakings>>.