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Bar Paris vs Paris Bar

Post Time:2024-04-22 Source:ec.europa.eu Author: Views:

In case T-117/23, the General Court of the European Union examined a trade mark dispute concerning an application for an EU figurative mark for "Bar Paris" and the German registered mark "Paris Bar”.

The parties are Kantstraße Paris Bar GmbH, a restaurant in Berlin, and Superstudio21 GmbH, an architecture studio in Cologne, Germany, specialising in interior design for the hotel and restaurant industry.

In 2019, Superstudio21 applied to the EUIPO for registration of the European Union trade mark "Bar Paris", characterised by the graphic and highly stylised representation of a rooster and the word "Bar Paris". The mark was sought for goods and services in Classes 29, 30 and 43 of the Nice Classification, including jams, vegetable snacks, bread, chocolate ice cream, and catering and temporary accommodation services.

The restaurant Kantstraße Paris Bar opposed the EU trade mark application on the basis of its German trade mark "Paris Bar", registered for clothing in Class 25 and catering and temporary accommodation services in Class 43 of the Nice Classification. Initially, the Opposition Division of the EUIPO upheld the restaurant's opposition. However, the EUIPO Board of Appeal upheld Superstudio21's appeal and annulled the Opposition Division's decision, holding that there was no likelihood of confusion under Article 8(1)(b) of Regulation 2017/1001.

The General Court of the European Union had to determine whether there was a likelihood of confusion between the EU figurative mark "Bar Paris" and the earlier German mark "Paris Bar", taking into account elements such as the similarity between the two marks and the message conveyed by their denominative and figurative elements.

As regards the similarity between the marks, the General Court held that the words 'bar' and 'Paris' in both marks were of a very low level of distinctiveness since they were in large part descriptive and evoke a connection with Paris because of their association with the city and the concept of a bar. However, it pointed out that, although the denominative signs were common, the two marks at issue had sufficiently significant differences to affect the overall impression, referring to the graphic representation of "Bar Paris" and the stylised rooster. Therefore, in a context where the earlier mark "Paris Bar" has a very weak distinctive character, the visual differences between the conflicting marks would allow the average consumer to clearly distinguish them, despite the identical or similar nature of the goods and services in question. The Court upheld the decision of the EUIPO Board of Appeal and concluded that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks.