Metropolitan Court not sweet on SUPERMINT
The Metropolitan Court has upheld a decision to refuse the registration of SUPERMINT for confectionery products in Class 30 of the Nice Classification (1.Pk.25.376/2003/2).
Sweet Point Édesipari Kft, a Hungarian confectionery manufacturer, applied to register the SUPERMINT mark with the Hungarian Patent Office (HPO). The HPO rejected the application on the grounds that the mark lacked distinctiveness as it referred to the quality and characteristics of a number of products set out in the class heading, in particular strong or medium-strength mints.
Sweet Point appealed, arguing that when examined as a whole (rather than broken down into its component parts) the mark was an invented foreign language word that did not have a dictionary meaning. In its view, this gave the mark the required level of distinctiveness to allow registration. Additionally, Sweet Point contended that the word 'mint' has two other meanings that do not relate to confectionery products, namely (i) a place where coins are produced, and (ii) new.
The Metropolitan Court rejected Sweet Point's arguments and upheld the HPO's decision. It held that SUPERMINT was suggestive of candy that had a strong or medium-strength mint flavour and noted that such products were covered by Class 30 of the Nice Classification. It further stated that although the word 'mint' can mean a place where coins are produced, it was unlikely that consumers would associate a mint-flavoured confectionery product with this particular meaning of the word. The court also reasoned that the 'new' meaning for mint was descriptive of the quality of the goods in the same way as the 'mint flavour' meaning.
Gabriella Sasvári, SBG & K Patent and Law Office, Budapest
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