ARMAN confusingly similar to ARMANI, court rules


The Lisbon Commercial Court has rejected an application to register the word and device mark ARMAN on the grounds that it is confusingly similar to the well-known mark GIORGIO ARMANI (Case 214/03, May 31 2007).

Portuguese company Armando M Macedo Lda applied to register the word and device mark ARMAN for textiles and fabrics in Class 24 of the Nice Classification. The National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) rejected the opposition filed by Swiss company GA Modefine SA on the basis of its GIORGIO ARMANI mark for clothing articles (Class 25). Modefine appealed to the Lisbon Commercial Court, which reversed INPI's decision.

The court held that the dominant element in the word and device mark applied for was the name Arman while in Modefine's mark, the dominant element was the surname Armani. The court considered ARMAN and ARMANI to be very similar. The court also considered that as ARMANI is a well-known mark for clothes, consumers would be likely to be confused by the ARMAN mark. The fact that the marks applied to goods in different classes was viewed as irrelevant; in fact, the court found a great degree of similarity between the products at issue.

Accordingly, it upheld Modefine's opposition.

Gonçalo Moreira Rato, Moreira Rato & Associados, Lisbon

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