Puma EUIPO appeal dismissed

The Court of Justice for the European Union has this week rejected an appeal from the European Union Intellectual Property Office in respect of sports brand Puma’s trade marks.

The mattered originated with Italian machine manufacturer Gemma Group filing a trade mark application with the EUIPO for a leaping feline animal with a blue outline in 2013.

The application was filed in class 7 for wood and metal processing machines.

German sports brand Puma filed an opposition against the application on the basis of their reputation in their puma cat logo.

This opposition was rejected by the EUIPO Opposition Division in 2014, which was then later supported by the EUIPO’s fifth board of appeal. The appeal board agreed that the marks had a level of visual similarity but disagreed that the marks had sufficient reputation.

In 2016, the case was appealed to the EU General Court who annulled the decision of the EUIPO, stating that the reputation of Puma’s marks had already been established by 3 previous decisions of the EUIPO and the Office had failed to take these into consideration when making their decision.

The EUIPO were not happy with this decision and again appealed, claiming the General Court had infringed their principles of sound administration, and was wrong to deem the Office had needed to give a reason for not considering the previous decisions.

The CJEU dismissed the EUIPO’s appeal and deemed the General Court was right in deeming that the three previous decisions were relevant and should have been considered by the Office. The Office was also ordered to pay costs.

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