CHOIR OLYMPICS overcomes OLYMPIC hurdle
The Estonian Board of Appeal has dismissed an opposition filed by the Estonian Olympic Committee (EOC) against the application to extend protection to Estonia of the international registration for the trademark CHOIR OLYMPICS (and design) by Forderverein Interkultur EV.
The Estonian Patent Office granted Forderverein's application to extend protection of the international registration for the trademark CHOIR OLYMPICS for services in Class 41 of the Nice Classification (ie, cultural activities not related to sports events, namely choral music, furtherance of choral music and choral competitions (international)).
On March 2 2004 the EOC filed an opposition against the application on the grounds that:
- the registration was in violation of Article 8(1)(4) of the Trademark Act (which expired on May 1 2004) and Article 6bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; and
- the mark OLYMPICS is a well-known trademark which is owned by the International Olympic Committee.
Under the agreement between the International Olympic Committee and the EOC, the latter is required to implement the necessary measures to guarantee that use of the Olympic symbols by third parties is in accordance with the law. According to the EOC, third parties take unfair advantage of the distinctiveness of the Olympic marks and of the reputation of the Olympic movement by using the mark OLYMPICS in relation to any kind of competition.
Forderverein has organized the biggest choir competition in the world since 2000. Every other year, approximately 25,000 singers from amateur and semi-professional choirs gather at the 'Choir Olympics'. Forderverein argued that the trademark CHOIR OLYMPICS differs from the signs used by the International Olympic Committee, as it includes the word 'choir' and a figurative element.
On December 11 2007 the Board of Appeal dismissed the opposition, holding that the services at issue were not similar. The board also found that there was no likelihood of confusion between the mark CHOIR OLYMPICS and the Olympic marks due to the presence of the word 'choir' and of the figurative element.
The parties may appeal to the Harju County Court within three months of the publication of the decision.
Kärt Laigu, Käosaar & Co, Tallinn
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