Hoyng Monegier has achieved an important victory before the General Court in Luxembourg in an appeal concerning likelihood of confusion of a trademark which was found to imitate the famous trade dress of COCA-COLA and shared the word COLA (Case T-384/13). The General Court finds that the following trademark, filed to identify non-alcoholic beverages and advertising services:
is confusingly similar with COCA-COLA’s earlier Community trademark for the COCA-COLA Script and the chromatic combination white lettering against red background in respect of goods in class 32, as well as with COCA-COLA (Word) mark for services in class 35.
The Court finds that the word element ‘cola’ is the dominant element in Intermark’s sign and affirms the relevance borne by the evidenced repute of the earlier marks in the case at hand, together with the fact that the common word element (COLA) is depicted in the sign applied for in Coca-Cola’s ‘classic white cursive script on a red background’, in spite of the fact that ‘cola’ may have weak distinctiveness in association with class 32 goods, as the applicant had argued and despite the additional element COCA in Coca-Cola’s sign and the graphic component and word element RIENERGY in the applicant’s mark, which the Court finds not to be entirely negligible and describes as a fanciful word, yet considers irrelevant to prevent likelihood of confusion.
With respect to the comparison with COCA-COLA (Word) in class 35, the Court insists on the dominant character of the term ‘cola’ in the mark applied for and acknowledges that it is a distinctive element in the earlier mark as regards those particular services.
This decision comes in a particularly good timing, a few days after the celebrated major re-design of Coca-Cola brand image under a ‘master brand’ strategy, which for the Spanish market translates into presenting the iconic red corporate colour prominently displayed across all varieties.
The Coca-Cola Company was represented by Laura Alonso.
Additional information can be found at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=163002&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=37582.