ECOBLUE is confusingly similar to BLUE, says CFI
In ecoblue AG v Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) (Case T-281/07, November 12 2008), the Court of First Instance (CFI) has dismissed an appeal against a decision of the First Board of Appeal of OHIM in which the latter had held that there was a likelihood of confusion between the marks ECOBLUE and BLUE.
- the marks ECOBLUE and BLUE were visually and phonetically similar to a certain extent;
- the component 'eco' was not sufficient to distinguish the two signs significantly; and
- the services for which ecoblue sought registration were identical or similar to those for which Banco Bilbao had registered its marks.
After summarizing existing law, the CFI held that, in this case, the dissimilarity between the marks at issue - resulting from the presence of the word element 'eco' in ecoblue's mark - was insufficient to counteract the similarity deriving from the identical nature of the most important part of the marks. Consequently, the Board of Appeal had correctly held that the marks ECOBLUE and BLUE were visually and phonetically similar to a certain extent.
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