La lite sui marchi HAMILTON v. LEWIS HAMILTON

il segno LEWIS HAMILTON (del pilota di F1) è confondibile con HAMILTON (nota marca di orologi svizzeri) per prodotti sostanzialmente eguali?

Risponde positivamente il 1° board dell’appello amministrativo dell’EUIPO 17.10.2023, Case R 336/2022-1, 44IP ltd v. Hamilton International AG .

Si dimostra sempre difficile provare la propria notorietà a livello europeo: qui però, si badi, allo scopo di escludere confondibilità con il previo segno della casa orologiaia svizzera. Si v. la parte VI “Public perception and knowledge of Lewis Hamilton”.

Non è infatti discussa la questione del se ricorrsse uan notirrietà vicile del corridore nel 2015, anno di deposiuto del marchio della casa orologiaia. Ma una norma come nil n. art. 8.3 cpi nella UE non esiste. pur se la giurisprudenza di fatto ha posto una regola analoga ma non uguale (diritto di continuare ad usare mna no ndi impedire la registaszione altrui):  <<§ 61 In accordance with case-law, famous persons enjoy special protection when applying for trade marks. Insofar as their name is recognized, this recognition neutralizes any similarity with other signs which, under normal circumstances, would lead to a likelihood of confusion (24/06/2010, C-51/09 P, Barbara Becker, EU:C:2010:368; 02/12/2008, T-212/07, Barbara Becker, EU:T:2008:544; 17/09/2020, C-449/18 P & C-474/18 P, MESSI (fig.) / MASSI et al., EU:C:2020:722; 26/04/2018, T-554/14, MESSI (fig.) / MASSI et al., EU:T:2018:230; 16/06/2021, T-368/20, Miley Cyrus / Cyrus et al., EU:T:2021:372)>>


<< 135 According to the case-law of the Court of Justice, the risk that the public might believe that the goods or services in question come from the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically-linked undertakings, constitutes a likelihood of confusion. It follows from the very wording of Article 8(1)(b) EUTMR that the concept of a likelihood of association is not an alternative to that of a likelihood of confusion, but serves to define its scope (29/09/1998, C-39/97, Canon, EU:C:1998:442, § 29; 22/06/1999, C-342/97, Lloyd Schuhfabrik, EU:C:1999:323, § 17).
136 A likelihood of confusion on the part of the public must be assessed globally. That global assessment implies some interdependence between the factors taken into account and in particular similarity between the trade marks and between the goods or services covered.
Accordingly, a lesser degree of similarity between these goods or services may be offset by a greater degree of similarity between the signs, and vice versa (29/09/1998, C-39/97, Canon, EU:C:1998:442, § 17; 22/06/1999, C-342/97, Lloyd Schuhfabrik, EU:C:1999:323, § 19). The more distinctive the earlier trade mark, the greater the risk of confusion, and trade marks with a highly distinctive character, either per se or because of the reputation they possess on the market, enjoy broader protection than trade marks with a less distinctive character (29/09/1998, C-39/97, Canon, EU:C:1998:442, § 18).
137 Where a common element, retains an independent distinctive role in the composite sign, the overall impression produced by that sign may lead the public to believe that the goods or services at issue come, at the very least, from companies which are linked economically, in which case a likelihood of confusion must be held to be established (22/10/2015, C‑20/14, BGW / BGW, EU:C:2015:714, § 40).
138 In numerous members states, family names are given more weight than first names, even if they are at the beginning (03/06/2015, T-559/13, Giovanni Galli, EU:T:2015:353, § 47). In the absence of any arguments or evidence submitted with this respect, the Board considers that the family name has no less importance than the first name in neither Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia nor Lithuania.
139 In light of the at least average degree of similarity between the goods and services, the average degree of similarity of the signs and the normal inherent distinctive character of the earlier trade mark, a likelihood of confusion exists in at least Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia and Lithuania. Despite the fact that the average consumer will display a high level of attention, even these consumers may believe that the EUTM applied for is a sub-brand of the earlier trade mark and that both belong to the same or economically-linked undertakings.
140 For the sake of completeness, the Board would like to add the following:
141 Even if Lewis Hamilton were a famous person in the entire European Union, it needs to be taken into consideration that the evidence in file suggests that he is often referred to by his family name. This is evident from the evidence submitted by the opponent in its response to the statement of grounds (page 27ss, page 6 351 of the file and Annex AN44.1), which proves that newspapers refer to him only as ‘Hamilton’. This does not mean anything else than that the relevant public will immediately associate ‘Hamilton’ with ‘Lewis Hamilton’. Even if ‘Lewis Hamilton’ enjoyed the status of a famous person, the term ‘Hamilton’ alone would also be associated with him, which would lead to the fact that the public could believe that the earlier trade mark is also
endorsed by the applicant, and leading therefore also to a likelihood of confusion since the public might believe, that both trade marks are coming from the same undertaking or belong to undertakings economically-connected.
142 The relevant facts in these proceedings are different from those in the proceedings which led to the judgments on which the applicant relies. Nothing in the file allowed the conclusion that the public would refer to Barbara Becker as Becker alone. The same holds true with respect to Miley Cyrus, who is only known as Miley Cyrus and not as Cyrus. Last, in the Messi case, the opposing trade mark was not Messi. Consequently, in these cases, the fame and repute of Barbara Becker, Miley Cyrus and Leo Messi could exceptionally rule out any likelihood of confusion>>

(segnalazine odierna di Marcel Pemsel su IPKat)