Swiss embassy prevents registration of mark containing 'Switzerland'

Argentina

In Gloria SA v Embajada de Suiza en la República Argentina (Case 825/2006, August 23 2013), the Court of Appeals has overturned a decision of the lower court in which the latter had dismissed the Swiss embassy's opposition against the registration of LINDA SUIZA.

Gloria SA applied for the registration of the mark LINDA SUIZA (meaning 'pretty Switzerland') to cover milk, yogurt, cheese and milk products in Class 29, and mineral waters, sodas, non-alcoholic beverages, fruit beverages, syrups and other preparations to produce beverages in Class 32 of the Nice Classification.

The Embassy of Switzerland in Argentina opposed the application, arguing that the mark would mislead consumers as to the origin of the products and that it included the name of a foreign nation (see Article 3, Paragraphs (d) and (g) of the Trademark Law). The embassy also based its opposition on Article 10bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and Article 953 of the Civil Code (acts contrary to morals and good practices).

The first instance judge dismissed the opposition, but the Court of Appeals revoked the decision.

The Court of Appeals held that the word 'Suiza' is officially recognised by the Argentine government as designating the Swiss Confederation. The court noted that the mark did not consist of the word 'Suiza' alone, but considered that it was the most important element of the mark. Therefore, the word 'linda' had little value in the court's evaluation.

The Court of Appeals did not refer to the other grounds of opposition.

Jorge Otamendi, G Breuer, Buenos Aires

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content