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‘relevant public’ key to lack of similarity with Volvo trade mark

6 December 2013

An OHIM decision to dismiss Volvo’s opposition to a figurative sign Community trade mark containing the word SOLVO has been upheld by the EU General Court. The SOLVO application covered class 9 goods to Volvo’s registration – computer programs for warehouse management systems and for container terminal systems. There was no likelihood of similarity between SOLVO and VOLVO despite the identity of the goods and the high level of distinctiveness of Volvo’s earlier mark.

Phonetic similarities between the marks were outweighed by the marks’ visual dissimilarities. The key in this case – as in SHS Polar Sistemas Informáticos SL – was the relevant public; for this mark they were likely to be a specialist one displaying a high degree of attentiveness.

Mark owners/applicants should consider the characteristics and content of the product their mark relates to; a product which prospective purchasers would need to scrutinise the characteristics and content of, and ascertain the identity of its producer before purchasing, will negate similarities within another mark.

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Declan Cushley

Declan Cushley

Partner and Head of IP and Commercial Group

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