23rd Jan 2020

No EU trade mark for Irish boyband Westlife

The second highest EU Court, the Court of First Instance, annulled a decision on Wednesday (4 May) to register Irish boyband Westlife as an EU trade mark because the name is too close to the existing German trade mark 'West'.

In November 2003, the Spanish-based Community Trade Mark Office (OHIM) had actually allowed the German media group Bertelsmann AG to register "Westlife" as a trademark in the EU.

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But the decision was contested by the Hamburg-based tobacco firm, Reemark Gesellschaft für Markenkooperation mbH, which had previously registered the name "West" as a trade mark in Germany - on its own and in conjunction with various other words.

The German company filed a notice of opposition when the application was published in the Community Trade Mark Bulletin.

Even though the two companies did not want to register the trademark in the same classes, the Court annulled the decision of the OHIM to award Westlife with a trade mark name.

"The Court finds that there is a likelihood of confusion between the two trade marks", the court judgment said.

While "West" is a German as well as an English word, the word "life" only exists in English. But the court said the word "life" may be also be recognised by the average German consumer and thus the likelihood of confusion exists.

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