A coat full of energy

12 February 2020

What does an energy drink have to do with jackets? Not so much at first instance. But if one brand moves on to the products of the other, then a problem does arise. And that was precisely the issue between Monster Energy and Moncler. Moncler filed an application of the trademark Moncler in the European Union for, among other things, boats, furniture, but also drinks, including energy drinks. Monster Energy did not appreciate that.

Monster Energy and Moncler, are those similar trademarks? Yes, according to the EUIPO. Only two of the seven letters are different. This results in a visual similarity. There is also an aural resemblance.

However, a conceptual difference can neutralize a visual and aural similarity. Although the word Monster is a well-known English word, the EUIPO is of the opinion that there is no conceptual difference. The reason is that there are also many non-English speaking people in the European Union who do not understand the meaning of Monster. If you look at the opposition from their point of view, there are indeed similar marks, since the two words both have no meaning and they are similar in a visual and aural manner. The criteria is confusion somewhere in the European Union, which is the case here.

In case of older European trademarks, the lesson is not to judge too quickly that a word is totally descriptive or that trademarks are conceptually dissimilar.

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