The Administrative Court of First Instance of Athens has granted Carrefour’s application for the registration of the trademark CHAMPION and ordered the cancellation of Champion Products Europe Limited’s CHAMPION mark (Case 29538/2003, October 22 2008).
Carrefour applied for the registration of the trademark CHAMPION (Carrefour’s private label brand for certain of its supermarket products) for goods in Classes 3, 30 (except tea, due to a separate trademark dispute with a third party) and 31 of the Nice Classification
. Carrefour also filed an action for the cancellation of the trademark CHAMPION, which is owned by Irish company Champion.
Before the Trademark Committee, Champion argued that its CHAMPION-branded products:
- have been marketed in the United States since 1919 and in Greece since 1978; and
- have become famous in Greece due to their high quality.
Therefore, Champion alleged that the registration of the trademark CHAMPION by Carrefour would allow the latter to take unfair advantage of Champion’s mark.
In its defence, Carrefour provided evidence of several Greek and Community trademarks (dating back from 1958) containing the word ‘champion’. In addition, it claimed that the existence of its Greek and Community trademark registrations demonstrated that Champion’s mark was not famous in Greece. Carrefour also submitted copies of several distributorship agreements, as well as evidence of sales of its CHAMPION-branded products in Greece.
The Trademark Committee ruled in favour of Champion: it rejected Carrefour’s application for the registration of the trademark CHAMPION and refused to cancel Champion’s mark.
The Administrative Court of First Instance reversed the decision of the Trademark Committee and ruled in favour of Carrefour on the grounds that Champion had failed to provide sufficient evidence of the circulation of its products in Greece. Consequently, the court allowed Carrefour’s application for the registration of the trademark CHAMPION and ordered the cancellation of Champion’s mark for goods in Classes 3 and 5.
Eleni Lappa, Dr Helen Papaconstantinou John Filias & Associates, Athens