EU General Court Revives Trademark Bid for Currency Symbols

Poland-based Cinkciarz.pl applied to register this currency mark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

(CN) – EU trademark authorities failed to justify their rejection of a proposed mark consisting of the euro and dollar-sign currency symbols, the European General Court ruled Thursday.

Though an English translation of the ruling out of Luxembourg is not available, a press release says the European Union Intellectual Property Office “did not give sufficient reasons for its refusal decision.”

Poland-based Cinkciarz.pl applied to register the currency mark in 2015, saying it would be used for software, publications and financial services, including foreign exchange.

In refusing to register the mark, however, regulators contended that the image lacked distinctive character.

It said ‘figurative elements consisting of round shapes are not sufficiently significant to distract the public’s attention from the message” that the currency symbols convey with regard to goods and services, according to the press release.

Cinkciarz.pl persuaded the General Court on Thursday to annul that decision.

While the regulators examined the descriptive character of the sign in a general sense, the General Court said it examined “whether the goods and services covered by the mark applied for all have a common characteristic.”

“It observes in this regard that the mark applied for covers more than 80 goods and services, falling into three very different distinct classes, whereas EUIPO, however, confined itself to finding that all of the goods and services covered by the mark were related to foreign exchange transactions,” the press release states. “The General Court holds that the characteristic upheld by EUIPO is not common to all of the goods and services at issue. According to the General Court, the general reasoning adopted by EUIPO is therefore not relevant for all of the goods and services concerned.”

Chastising the regulators for not providing additional reasoning, the General Court said “there was a failure to state reasons.”

Even if the goods and services covered by the mark applied for are related to foreign exchange transactions, the General Court said “the contested decision does not state clearly why EUIPO took the view that the mark would enable the relevant public immediately to perceive, without further thought, a description of all of the goods and services concerned.”

“Finally, as regards the distinctive character of the mark applied for, the General Court states that EUIPO’s conclusion is vitiated by the same failure to state reasons,” the press release concludes.

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