Becker v Becker

The trade mark opposition dispute between Harman Int Industries and Barbara Becker rumbles on.

Harman Int Industries own an EU trade mark registration for the term ‘Becker Online Pro’ and an application for the term ‘Becker’ both in class 09 (for various goods). The Ex-Wife of tennis player Boris Becker filed an EU trade mark application for the term ‘Barbara Becker’ in the same class for the same goods.

The initial decision went against Barbara Becker as it was found that a liklihood of confusions exists between the two marks. However on Appeal to the First board of Appeal, Barbara Becker was successful as it was held that there would be no confusion (for a number of reasons) but mainly because the first name would be sufficient to render the marks distinct as the term Barbara preceeded the surname.

However Harnan Int Industries has now brought an aciton in front of the Court of First Instance to appeal the decision above. The Advocate General has issued his thoughts on the decision which criticises the lack of consideration for the term ‘Becker’ (and whether this is a distinctive component) as well as the lack of consideration for the conceptual similarity of both marks.

We await the final decision.

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