26th Jan 2022
Our firm has successfully defended the trade mark rights which our clients “The Absolut Company Aktiebolag”, the leading international alcohol beverage company, have in the word “absolut”. Absolut Vodka is among the very best selling and best known alcohol beverage brands in the world. In a trade mark opposition case fought before the Cyprus Registrar of Intellectual Property, our firm’s IP team has prevented the registration of the word “absolut” as part of the composite trademark “absolut pilates & fitness studio” filed by a third party.
Specifically, the applicants (a pilates studio) filed an application to register the words “absolut pilates fitness studio” as a service mark in connection with athletic activities. Our firm, representing “The Absolut Company Aktiebolag”, filed an opposition against such registration, arguing that the registration of the requested mark might result in a likelihood of confusion among consumers due to its similarity with the opponent’s famous trade mark “absolut”. The Registrar of Trademarks was of the view that there was a high degree of similarity between the marks, however, due to the dissimilarity between the goods and services covered by the respective marks, there could not be a likelihood of confusion in the mind of the consumer as to the origin of the services in question.
Our IP team relied then on the reputation of the client’s earlier registered trade mark absolut as an additional reason of opposition. This ground of opposition was based on Article 14 (1) (c) of the Cyprus Trademarks Law. To support our arguments, we presented the Registrar with decisions of the EUIPO and the European Court regarding the reputation of a trade mark. We also filed a portfolio of trademarks, copyright and other unregistered rights belonging to our client, and also evidence of use and of extensive promotional campaigns.
In his judgment, after referring to the legal aspects of the case, the Registrar proceeded to examine the facts of the dispute and the evidence which our IP team had filed regarding this ground of opposition. The Registrar held that the evidence submitted concerning the reputation of our client’s mark demonstrated that the earlier mark “absolut”, has acquired a very strong reputation both in the European Union and in the Republic of Cyprus.
Furthermore, the enhanced similarity of the marks and the distinctive character of our client’s earlier mark “absolut” could indeed create an association of the proposed mark with our client’s said earlier mark. The Registrar held that this association would result in the applicant taking unfair advantage of the distinctive character and the extensive reputation of our client’s mark “absolut”, despite the dissimilarity of the goods and services covered thereby.
In the result, the Registrar held that all the necessary conditions for the application of the provisions of Article 14 (1) (c) of the Law of Trademarks were met and, therefore, reputation as a ground of opposition was accepted. The registration of the applicants’ mark which contained the word ‘absolut’ was therefore avoided and our client’s prior legal rights in their famous trade mark “absolut” were upheld.
Information on our firm’s intellectual property practice may be found here.