No likelihood of confusion between RIO FANTASTIC BLUE and BLUE WONDER

In summary judgment proceedings, the Court of First Instance of The Hague has held that the use of the trademark RIO FANTASTIC BLUE for cleaning products did not infringe the mark BLUE WONDER for identical goods (Case 331455/KG ZA 09-252, April 22 2009).

De Bever BV manufactures and sells cleaning products under the trademark BLUE WONDER. The Blue Wonder cleaning liquid and the bottle in which it is sold are blue. Van der Graaf also produces and sells a blue-coloured cleaning product under the trademark RIO FANTASTIC BLUE. De Bever filed suit against Van der Graaf, claiming that use of the trademark RIO FANTASTIC BLUE infringed and diluted the BLUE WONDER mark.

The court first found that the goods sold under both marks were identical. Turning to the similarity of the marks, the court held that the only common element between the marks, the word 'blue', was descriptive of the goods and, therefore, had little distinctive character. The court further stated that the term 'Rio' was an important element of the RIO FANTASTIC BLUE mark. Moreover, even if the term 'Rio' was to be disregarded, there was no likelihood of confusion between 'blue wonder' and 'fantastic blue'. The court also found that the figurative elements of the marks and the get-up of the products were different.

With regard to the dilution claim, the court held that De Bever had failed to prove that the BLUE WONDER mark is well known. The court also pointed out that use of the colour blue is widespread on the market for cleaning products.
Paul Steinhauser, SteinhauserVandenBrinkHeeziusRijsdijk Advocaten, Amsterdam

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