Nullità di combinazione cromatica come marchio perchè insufficientemente chiaro e preciso

Il 2° Board of Appeal EUIPO 07.02.2024m, Case R 2087/2023-2, Storch-Ciret Holding GmbH, decide sull’appello contro la decisione che aveva rigetgtat la domadna di retistarizone per il seguente segno

Conferma il 1 grado amministrativo per cui è insufficientemente preciso violando gli artt. 4 e 7.1.a):

24 On that basis, it must be found that the sign applied for does not meet the precision requirement specified in Article 3(3)(f) (ii) EUTMIR, which is also to be used when interpreting Article 4(b) EUTMR.
25 The rectangles reproduced in the representation mentioned are already visually reminiscent of a mere coloured pattern. Above all, however, it is evident from the nature of the applicant’s request, which is directed at a colour mark, that the representation in rectangles can only have a pattern. It cannot constitute a restriction of the colour shades to the shown sequence of rectangles. Such a view would be inconsistent with claiming as a colour mark (27/03/2019, C-578/17, Hartwall, EU:C:2019:261, § 40 et. seq.). If only a horizontal row of coloured rectangles with white intermediate areas were claimed, the trade mark would be a purely figurative mark which, as emphasised by the applicant, is precisely not claimed (cf. in this respect the first decision of the Office on the application
of 8 March 2021, 3 et seq.).
26 The distribution by volume of the colours claimed, which requires a sufficiently clear systematic arrangement (cf. denied in respect of ‘approximately 50 % to 50 %’ in 30/11/2017, T-102/15 ure T-101/15, BLUE AND SILVER, EU:T:2017:852, § 58 et seq.), is unclear in the present case. As stated, the reproduction of the shades in rectangles appears to be a simple representation of colour patterns. It may be that the applicant thereby wishes to express an identical distribution of these shades of colour.
However, there is no objective evidence of this, which means that there is ultimately a speculation. In addition, the quantitative proportion of the colour ‘white’ is also open to doubts. In the specific representation, it indicates a narrow distance between the individual shades of colour in the rectangles. However, as stated (para. 25), the application for protection is not restricted to a reproduction of the shades in rectangles. It is unclear how the proportion in other designs is supposed to be.
27 The representation applied for also leaves open the question of which systematic arrangement of the shades is otherwise claimed. The information provided by the applicant, if the entry as rectangles is not understood as conclusive, allows a large number of different combinations of colours to be associated (30/11/2017, T-102/15 —  T-101/15, BLUE AND SILVER, EU:T:2017:852, § 58 et seq.; see also the colour mark ……….., 14/06/2012, T-293/10, seven squares of different colours, EU:T:2012:302, § 56 et seq.) comparable with the colour mark applied for. It is not even clear whether each of the colours has the same shape and be designed in parallel.
28 As a result, too many ambiguities remain in the present case, which cannot be to the detriment of the general public. In its submissions, too, the applicant itself only withdrew itself with the general assertion that what can be seen here was claimed. However, this is precisely unclear if no purely figurative design is claimed.
29 The applicant could have easily encountered these objections, for example by making use of the possibility of submitting a description in the field of colour combination marks by way of exception. It is correct that a description pursuant to Article 3(3)(f) (ii) EUTMIR is not formally mandatory. However, it remains the responsibility of the applicant to satisfy the precision requirement under Article 4 EUTMR or the requirement of a systematic arrangement in which the colours concerned are combined in a predetermined and uniform manner pursuant to Article 3(3)(f) (ii) EUTMIR. That did not happen in this case.
30 The refusal of the application pursuant to Article 7(1)(a) in conjunction with Article 4 EUTMR was therefore ultimately correct.
31 The examiner expressly refrained from refusing registration under Article 7(1)(b) EUTMR. That is logical, because such a decision requires a clear subject of the application, which cannot be assumed here. Nor does the Board currently see any basis for such a decision.
32 The applicant’s appeal therefore had to be dism

La sconfitta di Tesla sul marchio per birre GIGABIER presso l’EUIPO

Marcel Pemsel su IPKaT dà notizia della sconfitta amministrativa (per ora) di Testla sul marchio GIGABIER per birre.

E’ la decisione della divisione di opposizione OPPOSITION Nо B 3 162 062, Tesla c. Juicyphant GmbH, 20.09.2023.

La norma azionata dall’opponente Tesla è l’art. 8.4 reg. Ue 1001 del 2017, per cui:

<<4.   In seguito all’opposizione del titolare di un marchio non registrato o di un altro segno utilizzato nella normale prassi commerciale e di portata non puramente locale, il marchio richiesto è escluso dalla registrazione se e in quanto, conformemente a una normativa dell’Unione o alla legislazione dello Stato membro che disciplina detto segno:


sono stati acquisiti diritti a detto contrassegno prima della data di presentazione della domanda di marchio UE, o della data di decorrenza del diritto di priorità invocato per presentare la domanda di marchio UE;


questo contrassegno dà al suo titolare il diritto di vietare l’uso di un marchio successivo.>>

così interpretato dall’ufficio:

<<Therefore, the grounds of refusal of Article 8(4) EUTMR are subject to the following requirements:

• the earlier sign must have been used in the course of trade of more than local significance prior to the filing of the contested trade mark;

• pursuant to the law governing it, prior to the filing of the contested trade mark, the opponent acquired rights to the sign on which the opposition is based, including the right to prohibit the use of a subsequent trade mark;

• the conditions under which the use of a subsequent trade mark may be prohibited are fulfilled in respect of the contested trade mark.

These conditions are cumulative. Therefore, where a sign does not satisfy one of those conditions, the opposition based on a non-registered trade mark or other signs used in the course of trade within the meaning of Article 8(4) EUTMR cannot succeed>>.

Tesla non riesce a dare questa prova.

Il ragionameno in diritto non è particolarmente interessante.

Lo è quello in fatto, anche se troppo detagliato per essere riporatto in toto.

Mi limito alla conclòusione:

<<The Opposition Division considers that the evidence does not provide a convincing picture of use of the opponent’s sign prior to the time of the filing of the contested trade mark, nor does it indicate that any such use could be considered as meeting the minimum threshold of ‘use in the course of trade of more than mere local significance’ in the relevant territories, as set out in Article 8(4) EUTMR. Moreover, the documents submitted do not provide any concrete indications as to the potential degree of recognition of the opponent’s sign by the public in the relevant territories at the relevant point in time.

Whether or not a trade sign is of more than mere local significance may be established by demonstrating the existence of a network of economically active branches throughout the relevant territory, but also more simply, for example, by producing invoices issued outside the region in which the proprietor has its principal place of business or press cuttings showing the degree of recognition on the part of the public of the sign relied on (24/03/2009, T-318/06 – T-321/06, General Optica, EU:T:2009:77, § 43). (……)

The opponent’s CEO merely stating that, at some point in the future, they intend to produce/offer a beer under the sign ‘GIGABIER’ does not constitute ‘prior use in the course of trade of more than mere local significance’, contrary to the opponent’s assertions.>>

E infine:

<<Considered in the context of a half hour long speech, the opponent’s CEO only briefly referred to the relevant goods while an image of two empty bottles branded ‘Gigabier’ briefly appeared on the screens behind him. When considered with the other indicia in the evidence referred to above (as well as the weaknesses thereof, including the brevity of the interlude between the opponent’s announcement and the relevant date), it is clear that these Annexes only support the conclusion that the single use of the earlier sign prior to the relevant date is the opponent’s brief announcement at an event in Germany, attended by a maximum of 9,000 people, that a beer may possibly be launched in the future under that brand. The evidence also shows that this announcement attracted some comments on social media. However, the evidence does not show that this single announcement by the opponent during a brief event at the new factory plant in Brandenburg, one day prior to the filing of the contested application, was followed by or attracted the attention of a substantial part of the relevant public in Ireland and/or Denmark. Therefore, the opponent has clearly failed to prove that its use of the sign in the course of trade in Ireland and/or Denmark prior to the relevant date was of more than mere local significance in those territories.

This conclusion is not altered by the content, date or language of publication of the articles submitted as Annex 1, which make no mention of the relevant sign or goods, and instead only refer to the opponent’s plans for/construction of a car manufacturing plant.

The opponent has failed to prove that – at the relevant date – the public in the relevant territories were exposed to or were aware of any of the articles or social media posts submitted as evidence, or indeed of the opponent’s announcement itself. No evidence was submitted (such as invoices, price lists, turnover or sales figures, press clippings or actual advertising) demonstrating the opponent’s prior use of ‘GIGABIER’ for the relevant goods (much less attesting to any significance, duration or intensity thereof) as required under Article 8(4) EUTMR. In the same vein, none of the evidence submitted provides any true or reliable indications as to the relevant public’s degree of awareness of the opponent’s sign (if any) prior to the filing of the contested sign.

Any use, however minimal, which could potentially be established in relation to the claimed sign (for example, the social media posts showing two order confirmations of ‘GIGABIER’/Annex 13, which would in any case amount to only €89 and DKK 700 in terms of sales according to the prices of the products indicated in the 2023 blog excerpts/Annex 14) would only have occurred in 2023 (see Annexes 12-16), which is clearly well after the contested EUTM application’s filing date of 10/10/2021. Furthermore, there are no other indications in the evidence submitted that the opponent even referred to publicly (much less indeed made any actual relevant use of) the sign relied upon between their CEO’s mention of ‘GIGABIER’ in their speech on 09/10/2021 and their Twitter posts in 2023/Annexes 12-16. Indeed, the Danish blog excerpts and articles submitted as Annex 14, dating to 2023, refer to the ‘launch’ of ‘GIGABIER’ having occurred in 2023>>.

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>>.

L’inclinazione verso il green si riflette anche nella scelta dei marchi da registrare

Anna Maria Stein su IPKat oggi ci dà notizia del Report EUIPO sui marchi green. Esso esamina le domande di marchio per vedere quante contengono termini considerabili “green”-

Come potevasi prevedere, il loro numero è in forte aumento nel periodo considerato 1996-2021 (v. due tabelle p. 8).

Naturalmetne è importante a monte la selezine di cuiò che si sceglie di ritenere green (v. Annex Data and metodology)

questa la pagina dell’Ufficio e questo il link diretto al .pdf.

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

Distintività del marchio e ruolo della commissione dei ricorsi

Il segno distintivo sub iudice era ” LA TUA PELLE MERITA DI ESSERE TRATTATA BENE”  per cosmetici e simili.

Il segno era stato rigettato in entrambi i gradi della sede amministrativa (UIBM e Commisisone dei ricorsi, art. 135 cpi).

Nè sortisce miglior esito in sede di legittimiutà  con Cass. sez. 1 n° 37.697 del 23.12.2022, rel. Reggiani.

Tre sono i punti di interesse: il ruolo della Commissione dei ricorsi, la registrabilità di uno slogan come mnarchio e il rapprto tra l’art. 7 e l’art. 13 cpi.

1°  PUNTO  :   “In materia di proprietà industriale, la Commissione dei ricorsi contro i provvedimenti dell’Ufficio Italiano Marchi e Brevetti (UIBM), prevista dal D.Lgs. n. 30 del 2005 art. 135, è un organo di giurisdizione speciale esclusiva di merito, che estende la sua cognizione a tutti i rapporti tra i richiedenti e l’UIBM che siano originati dall’attività amministrativa di tale Ufficio, e il suo operato non si risolve in un sindacato sulla legittimità degli atti contro cui è proposto ricorso, ma si sostanzia in una verifica della fondatezza delle richieste, afferenti a diritti soggettivi, che non sono state accolte dall’UIBM”, § 4.4.

Poco sopra a, § 4.3 aveva detto: <<in conclusione, la menzionata Commissione è un organo di giurisdizione speciale di merito, che estende la sua cognizione a tutti i rapporti tra richiedenti ed UIBM che abbiano origine dall’attività amministrativa dell’Ufficio. La Commissione, più che giudice dell’atto è giudice del rapporto, per cui la sua competenza resta modulata su tutto l’ambito in cui esercita funzione di controllo, essendo chiamata a verificare la pretesa del privato che è stata disconosciuta dall’UIBM>>.

2°  PUNTO  :  << 10.4. La giurisprudenza dell’Unione ha, peraltro, maturato un consolidato orientamento in ordine alla possibilità di registrare, come marchio, slogan pubblicitari, il quale si colloca in perfetta sintonia con gli argomenti appena evidenziati.

Con riferimento a marchi composti da segni o indicazioni che sono utilizzati quali slogan commerciali, indicazioni di qualità o espressioni incitanti ad acquistare i prodotti o i servizi cui detto marchio si riferisce, la registrazione non è esclusa in ragione di una siffatta utilizzazione (Corte di giustizia, 4 ottobre 2001, C-517/99, punto 40; Corte di giustizia UE, 21 ottobre 2004, C-64/02, punto 41; Corte di giustizia UE, 6 luglio 2017, C-139/16, punto 28), ma, si precisa, devono essere utilizzati gli stessi criteri selettivi utilizzati per altri tipi di segni (Corte di giustizia UE, 6 luglio 2017, C-139/16, punto 28).

La registrazione di un marchio non può, dunque, essere esclusa a causa del suo uso elogiativo o pubblicitario, ma il segno deve, comunque, essere percepito dal pubblico di riferimento come un’indicazione dell’origine commerciale dei prodotti e dei servizi da esso designati.

La connotazione elogiativa di un marchio denominativo non esclude che quest’ultimo sia comunque adatto a garantire ai consumatori la provenienza dei prodotti o dei servizi da esso designati. Un siffatto marchio può contemporaneamente essere percepito dal pubblico di riferimento come una formula promozionale e come un’indicazione dell’origine commerciale dei prodotti o dei servizi (Corte di giustizia UE, 6 luglio 2017, C139/16, punto 29).

Ciò comporta che la sola qualificazione di un messaggio come slogan pubblicitario non comporta automaticamente che abbia anche quel carattere distintivo, proprio del marchio, che deve essere accertato perché si compia una valida registrazione.

10.5. Nel caso di specie, come già evidenziato, la Commissione ha ritenuto sussistente il carattere promozionale del marchio e, facendo corretta applicazione delle norme sopra menzionate, ha accertato se avesse anche carattere distintivo, e cioè se fosse in grado di ricondurre il prodotto e i servizi prestati proprio all’impresa che ne ha chiesto la registrazione, escludendo che tale carattere fosse esistente, ritenendo che le espressioni usate non fossero in grado di ricondurre proprio alla impresa che ne ha chiesto la registrazione.

10.6. Il secondo motivo di ricorso, con riferimento alle censure appena esaminate, deve pertanto essere respinto in applicazione del seguente principio di diritto: “In tema di marchio d’impresa, l’imprenditore ha diritto alla registrazione anche di uno slogan pubblicitario, ma l’espressione contenente il messaggio promozionale deve adempiere alla finalità distintiva ossia essere idoneo a distinguere i prodotti o i servizi offerti da quell’impresa” >>.

3° PUNTO   : <<Dalla lettura combinata delle disposizioni contenute nel D.Lgs. n. 30 del 2005, emerge con chiarezza che l’art. 7 D.Lgs. cit. individua un requisito la cui assenza impedisce già in astratto di considerare un segno come marchio, perché non è idoneo atti a distinguere i prodotti o i servizi di un’impresa da quelli di altre imprese.

Il successivo art. 13 D.Lgs. cit. individua ipotesi in cui i segni in concreto perdono o acquistano capacità distintiva (rispettivamente, i segni divenuti di uso comune nel linguaggio corrente o negli usi costanti del commercio e i segni che, a seguito dell’uso che ne sia stato fatto, abbiano acquistato carattere distintivo) e contiene la specificazione di alcuni segni che sono senza dubbio privi del carattere distintivo (in quanto costituite esclusivamente dalle denominazioni generiche di prodotti o servizi

o da indicazioni descrittive che ad essi si riferiscono), riportando anche riferimenti esemplificativi.

Ovviamente la disposizione da ultimo menzionata non si sostituisce a quella precedente, contenuta nell’art. 7 D.Lgs. cit., più generale, che individua i requisiti per ottenere la registrazione di un marchio, né esaurisce tutte le ipotesi in cui si deve escludere il carattere distintivo del segno, ma contiene solo una elencazione non esaustiva delle ipotesi in cui tale carattere non può ritenersi esistente>>, § 10.1.