Europharm slogan infringes VITA mark, rules examination committee

Romania

In Vita Zahnfabrik H Rauter GmbH v SC Europharm SA (Case 1021551/2002), the Examination Committee of the Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (SOIT) has refused registration of the defendant's slogan 'Eurovita multiminerale - un obicei sanatos in fiecare zi' (meaning 'Eurovita multi-minerals - a healthy habit each day') as a trademark for goods in Class 5 of the Nice Classification (pharmaceutical products). The committee held that the predominant element of the slogan (the term 'Eurovita') was confusingly similar to the plaintiff's VITA mark for goods in the same international class.

Europharm SA, a Romanian pharmaceutical company, applied to register the Romanian version of the slogan 'Eurovita multi-minerals - a healthy habit each day' for goods in Classes 5, 34 and 41 of the Nice Classification. Vita Zahnfabrik H Rauter filed an opposition against the registration on the grounds that:

  • the distinctive element of the slogan was the term 'Eurovita';

  • this term was confusingly similar to Vita's prior registered international trademark VITA; and

  • the proposed registration covered similar products to those covered by the VITA mark, particularly pharmaceutical preparations in Class 5.

The SOIT's Examination Committee upheld Vita's opposition and rejected the registration of Europharm's slogan for goods in Class 5. It held that the predominant component of the slogan was the term 'Eurovita' and that this, in turn, comprised two elements: the prefix 'Euro' applied to the term 'vita'. The committee reasoned that the 'Euro' prefix was weak and that the distinctive element of the slogan was therefore the term 'vita'. Thus, the most distinctive part of the slogan was similar to the VITA mark and was likely to cause confusion.

Alexandru A Harsany, Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen, Bucharest

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