Gepubliceerd op donderdag 20 november 2014
IEF 14393
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OHIM moet opnieuw oordelen over GOLDEN BALLS en BALLON D'OR

HvJ EU 20 november 2014, IEF 14393, C-581/13P (GOLDEN BALLS) - dossier C-582/13P - press release
Merkenrecht. De hogere voorziening na Gerecht EU wordt gedeeltelijk toegewezen inzake de inschrijving van het teken GOLDEN BALLS als gemeenschapsmerk. Het OHIM moet opnieuw beoordelen of het teken voor het publiek dusdanig gelijk is aan het merk BALLON D’OR om een link tussen de twee merken te leggen.

56 Intra-Presse submits that, in paragraph 60 of the judgments under appeal, the General Court erred in law in its assessment of the conceptual similarity of the signs at issue. According to Intra-Presse, the General Court was incorrect to add a condition, in order for those signs to be recognised as similar, relating to an intellectual process involving the translation of those signs by the relevant public. Intra-Presse argues that the relevant public is capable of identifying the meaning of the words ‘golden balls’ and ‘ballon d’or’ and of forming the view that, conceptually, the signs are identical or highly similar. According to Intra-Presse, application of the criterion of an ‘intellectual process of translation’ or ‘prior translation’ is artificial for the purposes of assessing the conceptual similarity of the signs at issue.

76 Consequently, in accordance with the case-law cited in paragraph 73 above, the General Court was wrong to rule out the application of Article 8(5) of Regulation No 40/94 without first undertaking an overall assessment of the marks at issue in order to ascertain whether that low degree of similarity was nevertheless sufficient, on account of the presence of other relevant factors such as the reputation or recognition enjoyed by the earlier mark, for the relevant public to make a link between those marks.

77 In those circumstances, it must be held that the General Court erred in law in concluding in paragraph 72 of the judgments under appeal that the Board of Appeal had been under a duty — even if it had examined the plea raised by Intra-Presse alleging infringement of Article 8(5) of Regulation No 40/94 — to reject the opposition concerning the ‘apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling electricity’ in Class 9 of the Nice Agreement and the goods in Classes 21 and 24 of that agreement.