Opposition fails but LUNA dispute continues

Latvia
The dispute between the owners of the trademarks LUNA and BLUNA is still ongoing before the Riga District Court.

The plaintiffs are two German companies, ACB Marken GmbH & Co and Mineralbrunnen Überkinger-Teinach AG, both acting under the name Bluna Warenzeichen GbR. The plaintiffs own a series of Community trademarks incorporating the word 'bluna' (Registrations 45203, 1247733, 01245208, 1245166 and 1205087), which are registered in respect of goods in Classes 25 and 32 (including non-alcoholic beverages), and services in Class 41 of the Nice Classification.

The plaintiffs opposed the registration of the trademark LUNA (LV M 55 615) by Saudi Arabian company Omar Kassem Alesayi Marketing Co Ltd for goods in Classes 29, 30, 31 and 32 (including non-alcoholic beverages). In April 2008 the Board of Appeals of the Latvian Patent and Trademark office dismissed the opposition (Case ApP/2008M 55 615-le). 

At the time of the proceedings, both marks were unknown in Latvia. The plaintiffs alleged that the marks were confusingly similar from a phonetic and visual point of view and, therefore, co-existence of the marks on the market was likely to give rise to confusion among consumers. 
 
The Board of Appeal disagreed with the plaintiffs, noting that the trademark BLUNA would be perceived as a fanciful word, while the LUNA mark conjured up an association with the moon. Moreover, the overall impression of the marks was deemed to be different. Finally, the slogan associated with the BLUNA mark (“Aren’t we all a little Bluna”) was not known to Latvian consumers.
 
Therefore, the Board of Appeal concluded that the marks:
  • were dissimilar visually and phonetically;  
  • had different connotations; and
  • would not create confusion among consumers.
The opposition was thus dismissed. The decision, although subject to appeal, was not contested.

However, in January 2009 the plaintiffs filed an action before the Riga District Court requesting the cancellation of the LUNA mark in respect of all the goods in Class 32. The plaintiffs did not change their argumentation or grounds of action, and did not provide any additional information on the matter.
 
The case was scheduled for a hearing on June 15 2010.
 
Valentina Sergeyeva, ST & P, associated office of Strahlberg & Partners, Riga  

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