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EU General Court rules on descriptiveness of the trade mark AMAZONIAN GIN COMPANY

Post Time:2024-03-11 Source:europa.eu Author: Views:

In a recent decision of the General Court of the European Union, in case T-756/22, a dispute arose concerning the invalidity of the European Union denominative trade mark AMAZONIAN GIN COMPANY. The question at issue was whether the mark in question was descriptive of the goods it covered.

William Grant & Sons Irish Brands Ltd applied for a declaration of invalidity with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) against the EU trade mark AMAZONIAN GIN COMPANY, registered by Mr Eric Roethig López. The company claimed that it was descriptive of the alcoholic beverages it represented, in particular gin, which falls within Class 33 of the Nice Classification.

Under Article 7(1)(c) of the EU Trade Mark Regulation, trade marks may not be registered if they consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the geographical origin of the goods.

The EUIPO Board of Appeal upheld the invalidity claim, finding that the AMAZONIAN GIN COMPANY mark was composed of descriptive terms in English, which had clear and directly related meanings to the production of gin in the Amazon region. However, this decision was appealed by Mr Lopez before the General Court.

The main issue before the Court was whether the trade mark was descriptive of the goods it represented, particularly gin, and whether the words ”Amazonian", "gin” and "company " together in the trade mark directly indicated the origin of the products.

After analysing the arguments put forward by both parties, the Court upheld the decision of the EUIPO Board of Appeal and dismissed the applicant's appeal. The Court held that the trade mark AMAZONIAN GIN COMPANY was descriptive of the geographical origin of the goods, since the combination of the words 'Amazonian' and 'gin' clearly evoked the Amazon rainforest and the essential characteristics of gin produced in that region.

Despite the applicant's arguments concerning the alleged evocative and non-descriptive character of the mark, the Court found that the term 'Amazonian' was capable of conveying a positive image of the botanical products used in the production of gin, which reinforced its descriptive character, especially considering the fact that some of the plants used to create the gin in question did in fact originate from the Amazonian region. Therefore, it was concluded that at least a significant part of the English-speaking public would perceive the mark as a direct reference to a company producing gin associated with the Amazon region.