Association sufficient to ward off Swoosh

Famous brands have a wider scope of protection. The European Court in the case of L'Oréal / Bellure decided that "It is no longer admissible to sail in the wake of a famous trademark and profit from its reputation and prestige, without a financial compensation." Many court decisions followed based on this case, but they always concerned a wordmark. To date there is little case law on how these rules apply to pure logos (logos without any accompanying words).       

Now finally there is a decision in Europe that concerns a famous logo. The issue revolves around Nike’s "Swoosh” logo (an extremely well known brand) and a similar logo for shoes from a Chinese proprietor. The Court has ruled that the logos are not confusingly similar. But the marks resemble each other enough to be associated with each other. Confusion is not required for a reputable brand, association is sufficient to take advantage of the reputation of the Nike logo. Nike therefore won this case based on the reputation of her logo. A victory not only for NIKE, but for all famous figurative trademarks in general. in any countries in which you may use it.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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