HP ‘ElitePad’ held to be Descriptive and Distinctive

The EU General Court dismissed an appeal against the refusal of registration, on the grounds of descriptiveness and lack of distinctive character, of the word mark ELITEPAD, which was applied for in the EU for computers and related goods.

The EU General Court has dismissed an appeal against the refusal of registration as a Community trade mark (CTM) of the word mark ELITEPAD, in respect of computers and related goods. The grounds of refusal were descriptiveness and lack of distinctive character.

It was argued that the word “elitepad” was an invented word. However, the General Court the relevant public would have had a sufficient understanding of the English language to recognise the two components of the word mark, “elite” and “pad”, and would not have perceived the combination of the two words as having a specific meaning different from the words taken individually.

The word “elite” could be used in relation to goods to convey the idea that they were of superior quality or had an element of exclusivity. It was not necessary to show that “elite” had previously been used in this way to describe computers or related goods; merely that it was possible for it to be so used. The board’s decision could not have been called into question by previous successful registrations of marks containing the word “elite”.

The mark would therefore have been understood by the relevant consumers as informing them, without further reflection, that the goods designated by the mark contained a panel which was responsive to pressure or touch which was either exclusive, had exclusive or special characteristics or was of excellent quality.

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