No similarity between ISIC and ISIS, says court


The Athens Administrative Court of First Instance has reversed a decision of the Trademark Committee that partially rejected the application to extend protection to Greece of the international registration for the trademark ISIC (and design) filed by Danish company ISIC Association for goods and services in Classes 16 and 36 of the Nice Classification on the grounds that it was confusingly similar to the earlier registered trademark ISIS (and design) (Case 8225/2003, November 5 2007).

The international student identification card (ISIC) is a well-known and broadly accepted student card, which has been issued to over 40 million students worldwide since its launch in 1968. It offers cardholders more than 32,000 discounts and benefits in 106 countries.

ISIC Association applied to extend protection to Greece of the international registration for the trademark ISIC in Classes 16 and 36 (including books, magazines and brochures on tourism, maps, timetables, hotel guides, address directories and identity cards). The Trademark Committee issued a provisional partial refusal on the grounds that the trademark ISIC was similar to the earlier trademark ISIS, which also covers goods in Class 16 (including paper and paper-made items, carton and carton-made items and paper games) and was owned by Chinese Emporium - Takis Gavriloglou AETE (Decision 9867/18-11-2002).

ISIC Association filed a recourse with the Athens Administrative Court of First Instance. The court granted the recourse, finding that there was no risk of confusion between the trademarks ISIC and ISIS.

In its rationale, the court held that there was no visual or phonetic similarity between the marks and emphasized that the pronunciation of the final letters 'C' and 'S' differs in Greek ('K' and 'S' respectively). The court also highlighted the fact that the ISIC mark was written in italics (while ISIS was not) and that the devices attached to each mark were different.

Eleni Lappa, Dr Helen G Papaconstantinou John V Filias & Associates, Athens

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