Consent award highlights strength of ADR in current economic climate

The Athens Administrative Court of First Instance has issued a consent award in a five-year-old opposition proceeding involving the Greek trademark CHEESE TWISTER (Decision 11991/2011, September 15 2011). The issuance of the consent award shows that the country’s current economic climate favours alternative dispute resolution procedures and the swift resolution of legal proceedings, so as to avoid legal costs as much as possible.  
A dispute arose between Greek company Ohonos Snack SA and US company ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston Inc when the latter filed an opposition against the Greek trademark CHEESE TWISTER, which covered, among other things, potato sticks, potato chips and popcorn. The opposition was based on the earlier Community trademark TWISTER FRIES (Registration 000407403), which covered processed frozen vegetables, and the Greek trademark TWISTER (Registration 133774), which covered processed fruits and vegetables.
As the respective marks were not identical and the target consumers were different (the opposed mark targeted primarily teenagers of up to 15 years old, while the earlier marks targeted older consumers), the opposition was rejected at first instance on the grounds that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks.
However, the primary point of dispute was the similarity of the goods. As the dispute carried on for a total of five years, the owner of the contested trademark decided to resolve the matter out of court by restricting the specification of the goods covered by its trademark and excluding vegetable products, potato sticks and potato chips. The matter was thus settled with the opponent. The consent award issued by the court recognised that there was no risk of confusion between the marks and the opposition was rejected.
Eleni Lappa, IPWORK LLC, Athens

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