Recent TM opposition decisions in the Benelux (march 2011)

Some recent opposition decisions in the Benelux:

  • WIRECARD against TM application for WINCARD both for saving/bonus cards; opposition rejected; no similarities between the marks at hand.
  • AIR MILES against TM application for AIRSMILES for vehicles/transport; opposition rejected; dissimilar products and services.
  • BIG & TALL (fig) against TM application for BIG & LARGE (fig) both for advertisement; opposition rejected; no similarities between the marks at hand, also due to the low degree of distinctiveness of the word elements.
  • ELMEQ against TM application for ELMEC both for machines and services related thereto; opposition granted; confusingly similar signs and similar products/services.
  • SOLVEON against TM application for SOLVENDER both for debt management; opposition granted; (particularly phonetically) confusingly similar signs.

After publication of a Trademark application in the Benelux, third parties may file opposition within approximately two months. Opposition may be based upon older Trademark rights in the Benelux. First parties enter the cooling off period for two months (extendable) in which they may settle the matter. If no settlement is reached parties have to submit their arguments within two months and thereafter the office takes a decision.

An opposition may be rejected or granted. The latter means withdrawal of the Trademark application. The office may also partially grant an opposition, for certain but not all classes and/or products and services. Appeal against the decision is possible.

Note: an opposition only concerns a conflict about a Trademark application and does not concern the use of a Trademark. For actions against the use of a Trademark infringement actions have to be inititiated at the courts of the Benelux.