(CN) – A company that used the letters “F1” on its website didn’t violate Formula One’s trademark, a European court ruled.
Formula One is a series of auto races, run by the Formula One Group based out of the United Kingdom.
The group’s Netherlands-based subsidiary, Formula One Licensing, challenged an online banner with the words “F1-Live” being used by Racing-Live SAS, which runs a car-racing website in France.
A European trade harmonization office rejected Formula One’s challenge, saying that obvious differences between the marks prevented any likelihood of confusion.
Simply combining the letter F with the number 1 can designate a generic association with car racing, the office said. And only Formula One’s distinct, graphical logo has a protectable reputation, the office found.
The Luxembourg-based General Court agreed, saying the harmonization office was correct in distinguishing between the use of F1 as a word and as a logo.
The “totally different layout” in the marks, not to mention adding the word “live,” prevents any connection with Formula One, the court decided in dismissing the English company’s case.