L’uso di marchio leggermente modificato salva quello registrato dalla decadenza per non uso

Il Trib. UE 24.01.2024, T-562/22, Noah Clothing c. EUIPO-Yannick Noah, offre un esempio di applicazione dell’art. 18.1.a), reg. 2017/1001  (“sono inoltre considerate come uso: a) l’utilizzazione del marchio UE in una forma che si differenzia per taluni elementi che non alterano il carattere distintivo del marchio nella forma in cui esso è stato registrato”).

Marchio registrato:

marchio usato nei fatti:

Per il Trib. il secondo è poco diverso dal primo, per cui lo salva dalla decadenza.

<<61  In that regard, first, the upper-case letter ‘Y’ followed by a full stop before the word ‘noah’ constitutes a repetition of an element already present in the figurative element of the mark at issue, which is described by its proprietor as consisting, inter alia, of an upper-case letter ‘Y’ in black. Secondly, that letter is placed below the figurative element, which dominates the overall impression both of the mark as registered, in conjunction with the word ‘noah’, and the modified mark, with the result that, although it is not negligible, it occupies a secondary position in the perception of that mark.

62 In addition, the use of signs consisting of surnames is common in the clothing sector (judgment of 20 February 2013, Caventa v OHIM – Anson’s Herrenhaus (B BERG), T‑631/11, not published, EU:T:2013:85, paragraph 64). Therefore, as regards the conceptual meaning of the mark at issue, the word element ‘noah’ may be perceived, both in the registered form and the modified form, as a surname that refers to a specific person, namely the intervener.

63 In any event, the applicant itself acknowledges, in paragraph 56 of the application, that the word element ‘noah’, as it appears in the registered form and in the modified form of the mark at issue, may be perceived as a surname.

64 Lastly, it must be noted, as EUIPO did, that the addition of the first letter of the given name merely reinforces the reference to the intervener.

65 Consequently, it must be held that the mark at issue in its form used in the course of trade may be regarded as broadly equivalent to the mark at issue as registered, since the added element consisting of the upper-case letter ‘Y’ followed by a full stop is neither distinctive nor dominant in the configuration of the modified mark. In those circumstances, such an element cannot be perceived by the relevant public as capable of altering the distinctive character of the mark at issue>>.

L’uso come marchio di certificazione non costituisce uso come segno distintivo della provenienza (e cioè come marchio individuale)

Marcel Pemsel su IPKat segnala l’interessante Trib. UE 6 settembr 2023, T-774/21, DPG Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH c. EUIPO-Užstato sistemos administratorius VšĮ

L’ultima chiede la registrazione del segno seguente:

La DPG fa valere l’anteriorità seguente:


Però di fronte alla richiesta di prova del genuine use (da noi art. 178.4 cpi; in UE art. 47.2 reg. 1001 del 2017) , la DPG non vi riesce.

Essa sovraintende al sistema tedesco di riciclo di bottiglie e packaging : per cui l’ampia prova della presenza del segno sui prodotti degli associati non vale prova del suo uso, dato che l’aveva chiesto e ottenuto come marchio individuale e non di certificazione.

<<41  That being said, it is appropriate to examine whether, beyond that function of certifying such goods, the earlier sign also fulfilled, in the light of the evidence adduced by the applicant, the function of identifying the commercial origin of the services covered by that sign.

42 In that connection, the applicant maintains that when business consumers saw the earlier sign on the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system, on the invoices and on its website, they perceived it as an individual mark indicating the commercial origin of the services covered by that sign.

43 As a preliminary point, it must be stated that the applicant’s line of argument relates only to the nature of use of the earlier sign in relation to the services covered by that sign, that is, the services referred to in paragraph 7 above.

44 Regarding, first, the nature of use of the earlier sign on the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system, it is true that all the pages of that document are marked with the sign.

45 However, the graphic elements of that sign such as the bottle, the can and the curving arrow pointing to the left are symbols used throughout the European Union to denote the recycling process or recycling services and are placed on items to be recycled (see, to that effect, judgment of 11 April 2019, Užstato sistemos administratorius v EUIPO – DPG Deutsche Pfandsystem (Representation of a bottle and an arrow), T‑477/18, not published, EU:T:2019:240, paragraphs 32 to 34).

46 Accordingly, when such a sign is affixed to a legal document such as the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system, it will in all likelihood be understood as referring, on the part of business consumers, to the recycling process in itself and to the fact that certain goods are subject to a specific recycling system, that is, the DPG system, and not as indicating the commercial origin of the services covered by the earlier sign.

47 That perception is borne out by the wording of those terms and conditions of participation because, as noted by the Board of Appeal, those terms and conditions present the earlier sign systematically as a marking element of disposable drinks packaging for the purposes of certifying that those goods are covered by the DPG system.

48 Accordingly, inter alia, Article 1.2 of Part I of the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system, which is part of the section entitled ‘Fundamental Principles of the DPG System and functions of the System Participants’, specifies that the earlier sign serves as a ‘symbol’ for the mandatory deposit. Similarly, Article 1.1 of Section 1 of Part II of those terms and conditions provides that the packaging concerned must be marked in such a way as not to impair the meaning of the earlier sign, that is, that that packaging is ‘subject to the mandatory deposit’.

49 Likewise, where Annex 1 to the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system in its 2013 version – which does not differ substantially from the 2016 version – describes the characteristics of the earlier sign, it does not do so in relation to the services covered by that sign. That annex, entitled ‘Specifications for First Distributors regarding the Marking of DPG Packaging’, merely sets out the various components of the earlier sign in order to assist first distributors in marking disposable drinks packaging. The way in which the earlier sign is presented within that annex thus refers to its function of certifying that the goods concerned are subject to the DPG system.

50 Further, the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system associate the earlier sign more closely with the activities of the professionals participating in the DPG system than with the services covered by that sign. In particular, according to Article 2 of Section 1 of Part V of those terms and conditions, collectors are encouraged to display the sign in the context of their operations in order to ‘disclose [their] participation in the DPG System’. From that perspective, the earlier sign serves to indicate that certain operators specialising in the collection, treatment and recycling of waste contribute to the implementation of the DPG system as collectors rather than to designate the services concerned.

51 In those circumstances, there is nothing to suggest that business consumers will perceive the marking of the earlier sign on the terms and conditions of participation in the DPG system, irrespective of its certification function, as an indication of the commercial origin of the services covered by that sign.

52 Regarding, second, the invoices submitted by the applicant, it must first be stated that they are marked by the earlier sign on the top right and that sign is juxtaposed with the applicant’s business name, that is, ‘DPG Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH’, which is set out in large underlined letters in bold type on the top left.

53 As is apparent from paragraphs 45 and 46 above, the elements making up the earlier sign are not designed to refer, on the part of business consumers, to the commercial origin of a specific category of services, but rather to the fact that certain goods are subject to a specific recycling system, that is, the DPG system.

54 Moreover, the applicant submits that, according to case-law, the use of the earlier sign together with the business name of its proprietor on invoices does not, in principle, preclude that sign from being able to refer to the commercial origin of the services covered by that sign.

55 In that connection, it must be stated that, in paragraphs 74 and 77 of the contested decision, the Board of Appeal did not assert that the earlier sign marking the invoices was not perceived as indicating the commercial origin of the services covered by that sign on the ground that it was used together with the applicant’s business name.

56 Regarding the content of the invoices, they display the amount of the participation fees payable by the participants in the DPG system. The invoices thus stated that those fees are calculated according to the approximate amount of items of DPG packaging that the first distributor intends to put into circulation on the German market. Having regard to that wording, the invoicing of the services provided by the applicant and, moreover, covered by the earlier sign have a merely indirect link to that sign, as the sign was associated more closely with the activity of the first distributors and thereby with its use of certifying that the packaging concerned is covered by the DPG system.

57 Having regard to the foregoing, the applicant, which bears the burden of proof, has not shown that, in addition to the earlier sign’s primary function of certification, business consumers perceived the affixing of that sign to the invoices as an indication of commercial origin of the services covered by that sign.

58 Third, the use of the earlier sign on the applicant’s website is similarly not sufficient to show that the relevant public perceives the sign as referring to the commercial origin of the services designated by that sign.

59 As considered by the Board of Appeal, on the applicant’s website, the services which it provides and which are, moreover, designated by the earlier sign are associated, inter alia, with the applicant’s business name, that is, ‘DPG Deutsche Pfandsystem GmbH’. By contrast, the earlier sign is present only at the top left of that website, with the result that business consumers are not guided on the applicant’s website by any element that is sufficiently clear to enable them to associate the services concerned with that sign.

60 What is more, that site states in its FAQ that, in essence, in order to comply with regulatory requirements concerning marking of disposable drinks packaging, it is necessary to display the earlier sign on the packaging in question. Thus, the sign is presented as being a marking element used for the purposes of certifying that the packaging concerned was part of the DPG system.

61 In those circumstances, there is nothing to suggest that, in addition to the earlier sign’s primary function of certifying that the packaging concerned is part of the DPG system, business consumers perceived the use of that sign on the applicant’s website as an indication of commercial origin of the services covered by that sign.

62 Having regard to all the foregoing, the Court holds that the applicant has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish that the earlier sign has been put to genuine use in accordance with the essential function of individual marks within the European Union in respect of the services for which it was registered>>.

Momento e modo cui valutare il marchio violato nel giudizio di contraffazione

Cass. sez. I n° 21.738 del 20.07.2023, rel. Falabella (con passaggi non limpidissimi…):

1) il giudizio sulla esistenza o meno della rinomanza va dato alla data del deposito (o di uso, se marchio di fatto) del secondo marchio. Così parrebbe leggendo :  <<l’odierna ricorrente ha agito in giudizio per sentir dichiarare la nullità dei marchi di (Omissis) e l’accertamento della contraffazione posta in essere, ai propri danni, attraverso di essi. Sotto il primo profilo i Giudici del merito dovevano evidentemente verificare se alla registrazione dei marchi si frapponesse l’impedimento di cui all’art. 12, lett. e): a tal fine l’indagine circa la rinomanza dei segni in questione andava condotta avendo riguardo all’epoca del deposito del primo dei marchi “(Omissis)” (anno 1999, come è pacifico), non ad epoca successiva. Simile (ma non esattamente coincidente) conclusione si impone in relazione alla sola domanda relativa all’accertamento dell’illecito contraffattivo. Come insegna la Corte di giustizia, il diritto del titolare alla tutela del suo marchio contro le lesioni di quest’ultimo non sarebbe né effettivo né efficace se non permettesse di prendere in considerazione la percezione del pubblico interessato nel momento in cui si è iniziato l’uso del segno che lede il suddetto marchio: quindi, per determinare la portata della tutela di un marchio regolarmente acquisito in funzione della sua capacità distintiva, il giudice deve prendere in considerazione la percezione del pubblico interessato nel momento in cui il segno, il cui uso lede il suddetto marchio, ha iniziato ad essere oggetto di utilizzazione (Corte giust. CE 27 aprile 2006, C-145/05, Levi Strauss & Co., 17 e 20, pure citata da parte ricorrente)>>.

Affermazione scontata.

2) la contraffazione va accertata rispetto al marchio violato così come depositato, non così come concretamente usato. Così parrebbe da <<è  senz’altro vero che il giudizio quanto al rischio confusorio determinato dalla somiglianza dei marchi, siccome impiegati per prodotti o servizi identici o affini, può riguardare segni che presentino una differente caratterizzazione (per essere l’uno denominativo e l’altro al contempo denominativo e figurativo: per una ipotesi siffatta cfr. ad es. Cass. 18 giugno 2018, n. 15927). E’ altrettanto vero, però, che, ove si tratti di accertare la nullità della registrazione ex art. 12, comma 1, lett. b), o l’uso illecito del segno che sia simile ad altro marchio precedentemente registrato, a norma dell’art. 20 comma 1, lett. b), occorre guardare a tale titolo di privativa, e cioè al segno oggetto di deposito e registrazione, non al modo con cui esso venga utilizzato dall’avente diritto (sull’irrilevanza delle modalità concrete di applicazione dei marchi denominativi ai prodotti, dovendo la valutazione quanto all’impedimento alla registrazione del marchio effettuarsi sulla base dei segni quali registrati o richiesti: Trib. UE 29 febbraio 2012, T-525/10, Azienda Agricola Colsaliz, 37; Trib. UE 9 giugno 2010, T-138/09, Muñoz Arraiza, 50)>>.

Pure affermazione scontata: la diversità rileva solo al fine di eventuale decadenza per non uso

Il ruolo del colore nei marchi figurativi semplici (chevrons zig-zag, strisce etc.)

Marcel Pemsel in IPKat dà notizia di un interssante ed analitica decisione di appello dell’ufficio di Alicante relativa ad un marchio composto da due freccette (chevrons) che però erano state poi usate a colori invertiti.

marchio depositato

Si tratta di EUIPO 2nd board of appel 10.03.2023,  case R 1422/2022-2, Barry’s Bootcamp Holdings, LLC v. HUMMEL HOLDING A/S .

L’ufficio svaluta il ruolo del colore e dice che l’inversione non altera la distintività (la domanda era di revoca per non uso) , sempre che la figura non sia banale o troppo semoplice.    Il rif. è all’art. 18.1.a) del reg. 1001 del 2017.

” § 53   However, the contested IR in the present appeal is not extremely simple unlike the aforementioned case with three parallel black lines, that did not even have the minimum degree of distinctive character. It is not denied that the distinctiveness of the two-chevron device is somewhat below average. Nevertheless, the sign in question consists of two identical chevrons, which are not basic geometric shapes (by analogy, 07/09/2022, R 615/2022-2, Gelber Strich mit linkem Knick (fig.), § 14). What characterises this sign is the outline of the two chevrons, their equal thickness and width and the equal distance between them. Chevrons or V-shaped marks can be presented in multiple ways showing different characteristics (as shown for instance in the examples of registered EUTMs provided by the IR holder on 18 June 2020: , , , , etc.). In contrast, the thickness of the lines and the space between them are the sole features that set a sign made of three vertical lines apart from others. Consequently, even minor changes are able to change the distinctive character of three vertical lines. Following from the above, the Board is of the opinion that the use of the sign does not alter the distinctive character of the contested IR . This is because the chevrons maintain the same outline, the same distance between them, they have an identical thickness and width”.

La posizione dell’Ufficio è di dubbia esattezza ,  stante l’importanza che il colore riveste nella moda di largo consumo: ma alla fine è forse esatto che il cunsumatore ricolleghi il segno nuovo (con colori invertiti) al precedente ed originario

Uso del marchio in forma diversa da quella registrata e relativa prova

In relazione alla prova dell’uso chiesta dall’istante a carico di chi oppone un’anteriorità (art. 42.2. reg. 207/2009, da noi art. 178.3 cpi), è interessante  Tribunale UE 8 marzo 2023, T-372/21, Sympatex Technologies GmbH c. EUIPO-Livve Espanola SA.

Se ne possono trare infatti utili indicaizoni a livello pratico-opertivi sul sempre critico punto della prova dell’uso.

Inoltre esamina la norma -complessa pure a livello teorico- dell’uso del segno “in una forma che si differenzia per taluni elementi che non alterano il carattere distintivo del marchio nella forma in cui esso è stato registrato, a prescindere dal fatto che il marchio sia o no registrato nella forma in cui è usato a nome del titolare;” , art. 15.1.b) reg. 207 cit.-art. 24.2 cpi.

Ci sono infine le consuete argomentazioni sul giudizio di confondibilità

Ancora sul deposito di marchio in malafede: riforma della decisione amministrativa nel caso Bansky’s monkey

Con post del  25.5.21 avevo dato conto della decisione amminstrativa che giudicava nullo per deposito in malafede il marchio di Bansky rappresentante una scimmia.

Ora la decisione è riformata dall’appello EUIPO con decisione 25.10.2022 case R 1246/2021-5 , Pest Control Office Limited c. Full Colour Black Limited.

Ne dà notizia e il link Eleonora Rosati su IPKat : non c’è malafede nel deposito.

La norma è l’art. 59.1.b ) del reg. 1001 del 2017.

I fatti allegati dal contestante (§ 50) :

<<  – The applied for sign is an artwork of graffiti which has been publicly used
being free to be photographed by the general public.
Banksy himself has permitted the public dissemination of the contested
sign inviting he general public to download it freely from his website.
Under copyright law, Banksy would be required to reveal his identity in
order to show that he is legitimated to bring an action of copyright
Banksy has made publicly his view on copyright in the sense that copyright
would be ‘something for losers’.
Banksy has never used the contested mark as a trade mark.
The contested application has been filed to monopolize the copyright
indefinitely infringing thereby copyright law.
Until recently Banksy has not brought formal proceedings against any
parties based on his trade mark right.
Banksy filed the contested mark in order to benefit thereby from the
corresponding exemptions in the trademark system of the USA in the sense

that by showing to have filed an trade mark application there is no need to
show the use of said application before the USPTO.
Banksy and the representative have expressed that the registrations were
not intended to be used and as such have concocted shame efforts to
mislead the Office to believe that there was such intention>>.

Nessuno di questi tuttavia permette di ravvisare la malafede al momento del deposito.

Non solo son fatti successivi , ma nessuo prova mala fede nell’occupazione dello spazio di privativa: il non uso non è malafede.

Molto interessante è che per l’ufficio malafede non è solo ledere diritti altrui  -come si pensa spesso: qui non ci siamo di sicuro. Ma lo è anche “obtaining, without even targeting a specific third party, an exclusive right for purposes other than those falling within the functions of a trade mark. ” (§ 46).

Ipotesi interessante e al tempo stesso concetto oscuro , che però non permette di superare l’ostacolo dell’esistenza della decadenza per non uso: il mero non uso è disciplinato da quest’ultima, non potendo dunque essere malafede (pur se se ne fosse documentata una programmazione ex ante) .

Nemmeno le dichiaraizoni di rinuncia al copyright possono essere ritenute prova di ex ante intento di occupazione abusiva della privativa (§§ 78 ss).

E’ il punto più interessante a livello teorico.  La cosa potrebbe essere dubbia, ma stante l’esistenza della decadenza per non uso solo dopo  un quinquennio dalla registrazione, come detto, il non uso è solo da questa regolato (in linea di massima).

Decadenza per non uso: conta l’uso anche pubblicitario in UE, pur se relativo a servizi offerti non in UE ma solo extraUE

Così si può sintetizzare l’insegnamento di  Trib. UE del 13.07.2022, T‑768/20, Standard International Management  c. EUIPO e Asia Standard Management,  sul sempre un pò scivoloso tema della individuazione degli usi che salvano dalla decadenza.

Norma azionata : art. 58.1.a del reg. ue 1001 del 2017.

Il marchio:

per servizi alberghiero-turistici , abbigliamento etc.

Il board di appello aveva deciso: <<10   In the first place, as regards the place of use of the contested mark, the Board of Appeal pointed out that a considerable amount of evidence concerned hotel services and ancillary services provided by the applicant in the United States. Among that evidence, the Board of Appeal noted various documents referring to advertisements, promotional campaigns aimed at customers located in the European Union, reservations made directly by customers and through travel agencies situated in the European Union, invoices addressed to customers resident in the European Union, a bookings portal accessible to European Union customers via the applicant’s website, figures issued by Google Analytics software concerning traffic on the applicant’s website, as well as printouts from such a website referring to various hotel services and equipment offered and used by customers, particularly in the European Union, or even articles focusing on awards and on prizes received. The Board of Appeal, in that regard, considered that such evidence was insufficient for a finding that the contested mark had been put to use in the European Union, given that the hotel and ancillary services in question were rendered outside the relevant territory of the European Union. It considered that the nationality or geographical origin of the customers was, in that regard, irrelevant, as also was the fact that the advertisements or the offers of service were intended for consumers in the European Union>>.

Ma il T. riforma:

<<As is apparent from the case-law referred to in paragraph 31 above, it is sufficient to state that there is genuine use of a trade mark where that mark is used in accordance with its essential function, which is to guarantee the identity of the origin of the goods and services for which it has been registered, in order to create or preserve an outlet for those goods or services. Even if the applicant were to supply goods or services outside the European Union, it is conceivable that the applicant would make use of that mark in order to create or preserve an outlet for those goods and services in the European Union.

39      Moreover, such an interpretation is supported by EUIPO guidelines. Those state that, where the goods or services covered by the contested mark are provided abroad, such as holiday accommodation or particular products, advertising alone may be sufficient to amount to genuine use (EUIPO Guidelines for examination of European Union trade marks, Part C Opposition, Section 6 Proof of use, paragraph (use in advertising)).>>

Inoltre conta anche il puro uso pubbliciario e in matreriali di viatggio (v. dettagli al § 10 sopra riporatao)=, pur se i serivzi di questo tipo non sonreetistrati.

<<42   In that regard, it is sufficient to note that it follows from paragraph 35 above that advertisements and offers for sale constitute acts of use of a trade mark. Therefore, those are relevant in order to demonstrate use in respect of the services or goods for which the contested mark is registered, in so far as those services or goods are the subject of advertisements and offers for sale.

43      In the present case, it is common ground that the evidence adduced by the applicant is intended to demonstrate use of the contested mark for the services for which it was registered, namely hotel and ancillary services, in particular by means of advertisements and offers for sale.

44      Therefore, the Board of Appeal’s assessment set out in paragraph 41 above is clearly incorrect.

45      Thus it must be held that none of the grounds contained in the contested decision support the conclusion that the evidence of genuine use of the contested mark referring to advertisements and offers for sale of the applicant’s hotel and ancillary services in the United States and targeted at consumers in the European Union is excluded.>>

Think different: Apple perde la lite con Swatch sul marchio denominativo , venendo confermata la decadenza per non uso

Il Tribunale UE , confermando la decisione amministrativa EUIPO, con sentenza 08.06.2022, da T-26/21 a T-28/21 ribadisce la decadenza per non uso del marchio denominativo THINK DIFFERENT di Apple (in realtà erano tre i marchi contestati, tutti uguali).

Il caso è regolato ratione temporis dal reg. 207/2009, § 34.

L’appello amministrativo aveva deciso:

<< the Fourth Board of Appeal dismissed the appeals. In particular, first of all, it found that, the first contested mark having been registered on 6 September 1999, the second contested mark on 18 November 1999, the third contested mark on 8 May 2006 and the three applications for revocation having been filed on 14 October 2016, the applicant had to furnish proof of genuine use of those marks in the European Union during the five years preceding that date, that is to say, from 14 October 2011 to 13 October 2016. Next, it observed that the applicant distinguished two periods of use of the contested marks, namely, first, the use of the contested marks in a marketing campaign from 1997 to 2000 for iMac computers and, second, the use on the box packaging of iMac computers since 2009, and throughout the relevant period. With regard to the first period, it noted that the marketing campaign predated the relevant period by more than 10 years and could not therefore be taken into account. Moreover, the occasional use of the contested marks on the applicant’s website during the relevant period to commemorate famous people or special events was an isolated and ephemeral use. With regard to the second period, the Board of Appeal, after having specified that the evidence submitted by the applicant related only to computers and computer peripherals in Class 9, found that proof of genuine use of the contested marks for those goods had not been provided, since the images provided showed use of the contested marks in a single place on the box packaging, in rather small script next to the list of technical specifications. It added that, in view of the highly technical nature of the goods concerned as well as the length of the text on the packaging of the iMac computers, written in small letters, the relevant public would perceive the elements ‘think different’ as a promotional message inviting it to think differently, in other words, to ‘think outside the box’. Last, the Board of Appeal reached that conclusion without considering it necessary to assess whether the worldwide sales figures for iMac computers since 2009 were sufficient to demonstrate genuine use of the contested marks.>>, § 20.

Premesse le solite considerazioni generali, §§ 58-66, il T. rifiuta le dichiarazioni sulle vendite in quanto di parte e non provenienti da soggtto terzo, § 76 ss

Dice che è leigttimo considerare non sufficiente l’uso del segno che segua una serie di dettagli tecnici , collocati sul packaging, §§ 86-90

Inoltre nemmeno può essere considerato uso del segno , dato che era usato a fianco del  ben  più noto <macintosh>:

<<In the present case, as the photographs of the iMac computer packaging in the file illustrate, the word elements ‘think different’ do not appear on the labels affixed to the box packaging in a way which particularly draws the consumer’s attention. On the contrary, as the Board of Appeal correctly pointed out in paragraph 30 of the contested decisions, those word elements are placed under the technical specifications of the iMac computers, and just above the barcode in a relatively small character size. That expression is, moreover, accompanied by the word ‘macintosh’ of the same size and written in the same font.

94      It must therefore be concluded that the way in which the contested marks are used on iMac computer packaging does not ground the conclusion that they have been used as trade marks, that is to say, in accordance with their essential function of giving an indication of the commercial origin of the goods concerned>>, §§ 93-94

<< 95  By contrast, in the present cases, the expression ‘think different’ of the contested marks appears simply after a long list describing the technical specifications of the iMac product. In addition, it should be noted that the judgment of 30 November 2009, COLORIS (T‑353/07, not published, EU:T:2009:475) arose out of a context different from that of the present case, in that the term ‘coloris’, appearing on the labels to be affixed to metallic cans for colorants, was significantly larger than that of the other word elements. Last, unlike the present case, in the judgment of 15 December 2016, ALDIANO (T‑391/15, not published, EU:T:2016:741, paragraph 31), the earlier mark, which also constituted the applicant’s company name, was affixed to the packaging of the alcoholic beverages at issue. Moreover, the factual context of those three cases was different from that of the present case, in so far as it concerned products which were very different from the technological products in the present case, namely cosmetics, paint products and alcoholic beverages, sold in different shops and for a substantially lower amount>>.

iNOLTRE, l’Ufficio aveva trovato << that those marks, combined with the Macintosh mark, would be understood as a promotional message inviting consumers to think differently, in other words, to ‘think outside the box’. In paragraph 33 of those contested decisions, it stated that the inherent distinctiveness of the contested marks and hence its ability to perform the essential function of a mark – that of identifying the origin of the goods concerned – must be considered to be rather weak, which renders it even less plausible that English-speaking consumers will attribute to it a trade mark function>>, § 96

Istruzioni importanti per gli operatori (imprese e agenzia pubblicitarie e di comunciaizone) e per i loro consulenti giuridici circa le modalità di inserimento del segno nella progettazione dell’aspetto visivo del prodotto o del suo packaging.

Decadenza dal marchio per non uso quinquennale e relativo onere della prova

La Corte di Giustizia UE del 10.03.2022, C-183/21, Maxxus Group GmbH c. Globus Holding GmbH, inteviene sull’oggetto precisando che :

i) la questione dell’onere della prova del non uso decadenziale è armonizzata : quindi non è lasciata ai diritti nazionali, § 33.

ii) spetta al titolare della registrazione provare il proprio uso, non alla controparte provare il fatto negativo del non uso (quest’ultima quindi avrà solo l’onere di allegazione, però piuttosto semplice: basta letteralmente affermare il non uso protratto per cinque annu), §§ 35 ss.

Nessun ragionamento particolarmente interessante.

Nel caso specifico la Corte ha deciso quindi che osta a tale interpretazione la normativa nazionale che pone qualche onere probatorio anche in capo all’impugnante il marchio.

Da noi la questione è pacificamente disciplinata nello stesso senso, alla luce dell’attuale versione dell’art. 121 cod.propr. ind.

Oscuro tentativo di distinguere tra onere di allegazione e onere della prova da parte del giudice del rinvio (v. questione sollevata sub a), al § 23)