Zero-v-Zerorh+: there was a likelihood of confusion say CFI

The Board of Appeal decided that there was a likelihood of confusion between the mark Zero and Zerorh+, this decision was upheld by the CFI.

The appellants argued that their goods where different as there products where clothing particularly of the winter variety in contrast with their opponent’s general clothing products. The court found that this rather tenuous distinction was not enough to discount the similarity between the two marks.

The court felt that the two marks would cause confusion as the consumer could view these two marks as variant marks of the same undertaking, thereby causes confusion as to the origin of the two marks.

At paragraph 54 it was found that: “the word ‘zero’ is both the only verbal element of the earlier marks and the beginning of the verbal component ‘zerorh+’ of the mark applied for, and as such would have at least an independent distinctive role as regards the relevant public.”

The appellants argued that the zero marks lack distinctive character and therefore there was no likelihood of confusion, however, the court found that: “it should be held that accepting that the earlier mark has a weak distinctive character does not prevent the finding in the present case that there is a likelihood of confusion.”

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