Giorgio Armani's GA mark is confusingly similar to Gucci's GG logo


In GA Modefine SA v Guccio Gucci SpA (Case 8.Pkf.26.318/2007/4, January 3 2008), the Metropolitan Board of Appeal has refused to extend protection to Hungary of the international registration for the device mark GA. The board found that GA Modefine SA's GA mark (which stands for Giorgio Armani) is confusingly similar to Guccio Gucci SpA's earlier device mark GG (International Registration 567 931 and Community Registration 00012202).

The decision is significant in that it involves the use of similar logos by two world famous fashion companies.

At first instance, the court based its decision on Section 4(1)(b) of the Law on the Protection of Trademarks and Geographical Indications (XI/1997). Section 4(1)(b) reads as follows:

"Relative grounds for refusal:

(1) The following may not be granted trademark protection: [...]b) a sign which may cause confusion among consumers because it is identical or similar to an earlier trademark, or because the goods or services covered by the trademark are identical or similar to those covered by the earlier trademark.

The board approved the reasoning of the lower court in a short decision. Based on the overall impression of the marks at issue, the board found that the similarities between the logos were not outweighed by the differences, which were only minor.

The board did not take into account the fact that the GA mark was registered in other countries, as its decision had to be based on Hungarian law only.

Gabriella Sasvári, SBG & K Patent and Law Office, Budapest

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