TIRAZONE cannot block registration of FIRAXON


The Athens Administrative Court of First Instance has affirmed a Trademark Committee decision to dismiss an opposition to the mark FIRAXON for goods in Class 5 of the Nice Classification (Case 11716/2001, June 2 2004).

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Synthelabo filed an opposition to an application by Greek company Ionia Viomichaniki to register FIRAXON as a trademark for veterinary goods in Class 5. Sanofi claimed that FIRAXON was confusingly similar to its prior registered trademark TIRAZONE for several goods in the same class (eg, pharmaceutical preparations for the cure of cancer, and veterinary and sanitary products), in particular as the marks:

  • both consist of three syllables;

  • have five letters in common; and

  • apply to similar goods.

The Trademark Committee rejected the opposition. Sanofi appealed to the Athens Administrative Court of First Instance.

The court affirmed the committee's decision. It reasoned that, among other things, the visual and phonetic impression created by the respective trademarks is sufficiently distinct. In addition, the court held that the goods covered by the two marks are sufficiently different: the goods covered by Sanofi's trademark are aimed for human and veterinary use, and cover a wide range of products, while Ionia's products are aimed for veterinary use exclusively.

Lastly, the court held that the pharmaceutical goods covered by the respective marks are ordinarily administered by doctors through medical prescriptions or are recommended to patients by certified pharmacists. Since the consumers themselves do not select the particular goods directly, there is no risk of confusion.

Eleni Lappa, Dr Helen Papaconstantinou & Associates, Athens

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