Common prefix saves FUNGOTRAT application


The Athens Administrative Court of First Instance has affirmed a Trademark Committee decision to accept registration of FUNGOTRAT for goods in Class 5 of the Nice Classification (Decision 6346/2003).

Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, a Belgian company, filed an opposition with the Trademark Committee against the registration by Greek company Uni-Pharma ABEE of the mark FUNGOTRAT for pharmaceutical preparations for human use. Janssen claimed that Uni-Pharma's mark was confusingly similar to its prior registered word mark FUNGORAL for goods in the same class because of the common prefix 'fung' and the identity of the goods covered by both marks.

The Trademark Committee rejected the opposition and Janssen filed an action with the Athens Administrative Court of First Instance.

The court affirmed the committee's decision, reasoning that the common prefix was not sufficient to create a risk of confusion. It found that identical prefixes are common among trademarks in Class 5 to evoke the ailment the product is meant to treat. Consequently, the court held that the different suffixes were sufficient to differentiate the marks.

Lastly, the court held that the pharmaceutical goods covered by the respective marks are ordinarily prescribed by doctors or are recommended to patients by certified pharmacists. As consumers do not select the goods to which the marks apply directly, there was no risk of confusion.

Eleni Lappa, Dr Helen Papaconstantinou & Associates, Athens

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