Unilever victorious in ice cream kings battle
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In Hjem-Is Europa A/S v Unilever Danmark A/S (Case V-79-04, August 12 2009), the Maritime and Commercial Court has ruled that the marks KING COOL and KING CONE for ice cream were not confusingly similar.
Since 1992 Danish company Hjem-Is Europa A/Shas owned the trademark KING COOL for, among other things, goods in Class 30 of the Nice Classification, and has marketed ice cream under that mark.
In 2003 Unilever Danmark A/S applied for the registration of the trademark KING CONE for goods in Class 30 and began marketing ice cream, including ice cream cones, under this mark. Hjem-Is sued Unilever for infringement of its KING COOL mark.
The Maritime and Commercial Court stated as follows:
"Visually, the marks KING COOL and KING CONE look like each other, but differ by the last two of the eight letters [...]. Phonetically, it is remarked that in ordinary speech, there will for both marks be a tendency to stress the second words [...], 'cool' and 'cone', where the pronunciation with 'uu' vocal sound and 'åu' vocal sound must be regarded as different. If stress is made as stated, the first part of the marks, 'king', will be somewhat toned down."
With further remarks concerning the differences between 'cool' and 'cone', the court found in favour of Unilever and ordered Hjem-Is to pay Dkr30,000 in costs.
Mads Marstrand-Jorgensen, Norsker & Co, Copenhagen
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