Atlantic successful in opposition against ATLANT marks

Lithuania

Atlantic Société Française de Développement Thermique SA has prevailed in opposition proceedings against the international figurative trademarks ATLANT for “boilers, other than parts of machines; thermoelectric refrigeration units” in Class 11 and “heating equipment installation and repair; electric appliance installation and repair” in Class 37 of the Nice Classification (February 12 2015).

On September 14 2012 Atlantic (France) filed two oppositions (Nos PTZ-79 and PTZ-80) with the Appeals Division of the Lithuanian State Patent Bureau requesting that the latter refuse protection to two international trademark registrations owned by Zakrytoe aktsionernoe obshestvo Atlant (Republic of Belarus) in the Republic of Lithuania:  

  • the figurative trademark ATLANT (International Registration No 1116022):

  • the figurative trademark ATLANT (International Registration No 1116023):

The oppositions were filed in respect of “boilers, other than parts of machines; thermoelectric refrigeration units” in Class 11 and “heating equipment installation and repair; electric appliance installation and repair” in Class 37.

The oppositions were filed under Article 7(1)(2) of the Law on Trademarks of the Republic of Lithuania, which provides that a trademark registration should be declared invalid if it is identical or similar to an earlier mark and, because of the identity or similarity of the goods and/or services covered by the marks, there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public; the likelihood of confusion includes a likelihood of association with the earlier mark.

The oppositions were based on the following earlier trademark registrations owned by Atlantic:

  • Atlantic (Registration No 634551), which covered goods in Class 11; and
  • the figurative mark ATLANTIC GROUP (CTM Registration No 009872383), which covered goods in Classes 9 and 11 and services in Class 37:

    

The Appeals Division of the State Patent Bureau decided to refuse to grant protection to the international trademarks ATLANT (Registrations No 1116022 and No 1116023) in respect of the requested goods and services in the Republic of Lithuania.

The decision was based on the following arguments.                  

First, the overall visual impression of the compared trademarks was influenced by the word elements ‘Atlant’ and ‘Atlantic’, which were considered to be the dominant elements. The graphical elements in the opposed trademark ATLANT (Registration No 1116022), although important in the overall visual impression, were designed to highlight the word element. Moreover, the graphic element of the globe within a water drop could be perceived as enhancing the semantic association between the word element ‘Atlant’ and the Atlantic Ocean. Further, the typeface of the trademark ATLANT (Registration No 1116023) was only slightly stylised and had no influence on the overall impression of the mark. The word element ‘Atlantic’ was the most significant element in the earlier trademark ATLANTIC GROUP, while the word element ‘group’ was descriptive in respect of the registered services and the visual element was used only for decoration purposes. Finally, the dominant word elements ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Atlant’ were of similar length and contained the same six letters in the same sequence; the words were written in capital letters, horizontally, and the typeface was relatively standard.

Phonetically, the compared marks were highly similar because the word elements ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Atlant’ have similar pronunciations and the sound ‘Atlant’ is clearly heard in both words. The different ending in the earlier trademarks was short when pronounced, and thus was not clear.

Conceptually, the compared trademarks evoked the same associations with the Atlantic Ocean.

Second, having determined that the compared marks were similar, the Appeal Division examined the similarity of the goods/services. The Appeal Division came to conclusion that the opposed goods in Class 11 (“boilers, other than parts of machines”) were partly identical and partly similar to the goods in Class 11 covered by the earlier trademark ATLANTIC (“heating appliances, including boilers; water heaters”) and by the earlier trademark ATLANTIC GPOUP (“heating; sanitary installations and spare parts for all of the aforesaid goods; heating apparatus, namely apparatus driven by electricity; heating boilers; feeding apparatus for heating boilers; water heaters”). The opposed goods in Class 11 (“thermoelectric refrigeration units”) were identical or similar to the goods in Class 11 (“air conditioning equipment”) covered by the earlier trademark ATLANTIC and those covered by the earlier trademark ATLANTIC GPOUP (“ventilating, air conditioning, air conditioning installations”) because:

  • they had the same purpose (heating or ventilating);
  • they could be manufactured by the same undertakings;
  • they could be distributed through the same points of sale; and
  • they were intended for the same consumers.

Moreover, the opposed services in Class 37 (“heating equipment installation and repair; electric appliance installation and repair”) were partly identical and partly similar to the services in Class 37 (“installation, maintenance, repair and servicing of apparatus for heating, ventilating, air conditioning, drying, steam generating, water supply and sanitary purposes; provision of information and consultancy relating to the installation, maintenance, repair and servicing of apparatus for heating, ventilating, air conditioning, drying, steam generating, water supply and sanitary purposes”) covered by the earlier trademark ATLANTIC GPOUP. The said services were provided by the same undertakings to the same consumers.

The Appeal Division also stated that there was a close link between the opposed services in Class 37 and the goods in Class 11 covered by the earlier trademarks because the compared services and goods supplemented each other, and the goods covered by the earlier marks were important for the provision of the opposed services, and could thus be intended for the same consumers.

Based on the foregoing, the Appeals Division concluded that there was a likelihood of confusion on the part of the relevant public.

Vilma Dauskurdienė, AAA Law, Vilnius

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