PUMA logo PUMN: spot the differences

It is still a strange but given fact. Sometimes companies apply for trademarks for which the source of inspiration is beyond obvious. A senseless operation, so it seems.


When Shenzen Tiannuowei Technologies applies for trademark protection for its PUMN logo for apparel and sporting goods, PUMA objects based on its logo. The PUMA logo is a registered trademark in the European Union for exactly the same products.

The EUIPO does not mince words with this. Visually, both trademarks are pretty much the same due to the same typography, which is enhanced by a jumping feline animal. The brands are also conceptually identical (the consumer will read the last letter N as an A).

Puma had put the well-known trademark argument in position just to be sure, but that argument was not even necessary. The logo has of course been rejected.


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?