Written by Ben Evans on 21 January 2010« Return to Reading Room
Nokia have failed in their attempts to register the mark 'Life Blog'.
NOkia filed a CTM application for 'Life Blog' in classes 9, 38 and 41. However their application was opposed by Medion. Medion own a German trade mark for 'Life' in various classes including 9, 38 and 41.Nokia could not convince the OHIM (either the opposition division or the board of appeal) and now the General Court has sided with the Board of Appreal and rejected the application.
The court held that consumers attached more importance to the start of words than the ends, this is a well established principle in trade mark law: case T-325/04. As for the 'Blog' aspect of the mark the court said the following:
“Applied to IT or telecommunications goods or services, ‘blog’ must be considered as having a limited distinctive character since, by reference to that area, that word is usually understood, even by the average German consumer of those goods or services, as referring to an online diary (weblog). In that category, the word ‘life’ has a greater distinctive character than the word ‘blog’. However, as regards all the other goods or services which do not imply an IT or telecommunication element, and in regard to which the word ‘blog’ has no meaning, it must be held that neither of the two elements ‘life’ or ‘blog’ emerges clearly as the element with the most distinctive character. However, as OHIM has rightly observed, the greater degree of inherent distinctiveness of ‘blog’ will, assuming it is established, be somewhat offset by the fact that ‘life’ is at the beginning of the sign, as the public’s attention is usually concentrated on the beginning of the sign applied for.”
“According to the case-law, when a composite mark consists of one component juxtaposed to another trade mark, that latter mark, even where it is not the dominant component in the composite mark, may still have an independent distinctive role in the composite mark. In such a case, the composite mark and the other mark can be regarded as similar (Case T-212/07 Harman International Industries v OHIM – Becker (Barbara Becker)  ECR II-0000, paragraph 37; see also Medion, paragraphs 30 and 37). In this case, having regard to all the above considerations, the ‘life’ element retains an independent distinctive role in the mark applied for” (para 73).
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