Top EU Court Sides With Puma in Trademark Battle

(CN) – Athletic apparel company Puma prevailed Thursday at the EU’s highest court regarding its trademark fight with a German manufacturer.

Germany-based Puma brought a challenge in 2013 when Gemma Group attempted to register its sign of a big cat pouncing (top) with the European Intellectual Property Office. At bottom left and right, signs that Puma has continuously renewed since registering them in 1983 and 1992, respectively.

Based in Germany, Puma lodged the trademark objection here in 2013 with the European Intellectual Property Office, contesting a sign that the Italy-based Gemma Group was attempting to register.

Like the cat in Puma’s logo, Gemma’s sign depicts a big cat in pounce stance. Gemma wanted to register the mark for machines that process wood, aluminum and PVC, and the EUIPO found that the difference between these goods and Puma’s products was enough to shoot down the challenge.

Puma’s initial appeal failed but the General Court annulled the EUIPO’s decision in 2016, pointing to three previous EUIPO decisions that established the reputation of Puma’s marks. On Thursday, the European Court of Justice affirmed.

“It was incumbent on the Board of Appeal, in accordance with the principle of sound administration, either to provide the reasons why it considered that the findings made by EUIPO in the three previous decisions relating to the reputation of the earlier marks had to be disregarded in the present case, or request that Puma submit supplementary evidence of the reputation of the earlier marks,” the ruling out of Luxembourg states.

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