Volkswagen trumps cult camper

The shape of a product can be protected as a trademark. In order to do so, it must differ significantly from what is already present in the market or has become very well known (acquired distinctiveness). When a trademark application is filed for the Cultcamper logo, Volkswagen successfully opposes it on the basis of its registered shape mark.

 

The Board of Appeal concludes that the trademark is indeed distinctive because of the characteristics like the split windscreen, the v-shaped hood and the headlamps on both sides. The trademark applied for is almost identical to the front view. They are deemed similar. Consumers may think that this is a new trademark from Volkswagen. The trademark is therefore rejected.

trademarks

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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?