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opposition allowed for “METRO KIDS COMPANY” Trade Mark application

8 February 2013

The EU General Court has dismissed an appeal against the OHIM Board of Appeal’s decision to allow opposition against registration of a figurative mark consisting of the words METRO KIDS COMPANY on the grounds that there is a likelihood of confusion with an earlier trade mark METRO.

The court agreed while the ‘metro’ element of the proposed mark was distinctive the additional wording “kids company est. 1989” was not sufficiently distinctive, the figurative element was mainly decorative and aurally customers would tend to abbreviate the mark to ‘metro’. The word ‘metro’ was considered to be the dominant element of the proposed mark and was similar to the earlier mark, leading to a likelihood of confusion.

Ultimately, this is the right decision. Trade mark owner’s rights ought to be protected against others who attempt to take advantage of an existing mark by adding ‘token’ images or words. When applying for a mark it is important to ensure that the mark is distinctive when considered as a whole.

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