America's Cup wins battle over logo
America's Cup Properties Inc (ACP) owns the rights in the logo of the America's Cup, the famous sailboat race. Copa Casa used a figurative sign consisting of the picture of a trophy (similar to the 100 Guinea Cup, which is used as a logo for the America's Cup) together with the words 'copa casa' (Spanish for 'house cup') for real estate services. Copa Casa, which at one point had three establishments in Valencia, commenced its activities during the preparations for the 32nd America's Cup, which was held in that city. Copa Casa's logo was widely displayed on its establishments, commercial documentation and website.
ACP sued Copa Casa for unauthorized use of the America's Cup logo. ACP also sought an injunction directing that Copa Casa cease using the infringing device while the decision was pending.
The Second Mercantile Court of Valencia granted the injunction. In the infringement action, the court held that Copa Casa had infringed ACP's trademark, despite the fact that the parties engaged in different activities. The court based its decision on the fact that the America's Cup logo is famous in Spain, particularly in Valencia. Under the Trademark Law, the owner of a famous mark can prevent third parties from using identical or similar marks for all types of goods and services. The aim of this extended protection is not to avoid a risk of confusion among the public, but to prevent third parties from taking unfair advantage of or causing damage to the reputation of famous marks.
The decision was final.
Carlos Morán-Medina, Elzaburu, Madrid
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