There is nothing quite like a fight over trademark animals. Images of animals are hugely popular as logos, with Puma, Lamborghini and Red Bull as just a few examples. This means that disputes about logos featuring animals are common. Such disputes can often be worth reading, because trademark authorities will go into some detail when comparing the characteristics of the animal logos in question, and some of the descriptions they come up with can be fascinating (opposition decisions are anything but boring).
This time, the animals in question are roosters. On one side, we have perhaps the most famous cockerel logo of all, that of the French Football Federation. The Coq Gaulois was depicted on flags during the French Revolution and is still frequently used as a symbol in France. On the other side, we have a rooster filed as a European trademark by a Spanish woman.
As already mentioned, the European Trade Marks Office describes these trademarks. That of the French Football Federation depicts a stylised white rooster with red wattles and comb, looking to the right, above the letters FFF in gold. All this on a blue hexagon with a gold border.
The other logo depicts a black and grey rooster looking to the left.
The similarity lies in the fact that both logos involve a rooster, but this is nowhere near enough to assume a similarity. There are obvious differences: for example, the roosters are looking in different directions. Their profiles, however, are the same. The stylisation is similar, with a similar number of curving feathers, which are of a similar thickness and shape. In both logos, the combs and wattles are shown in different colours to the rest of the body, and neither rooster has legs. The conclusion is that a visual similarity was found between the logos, albeit a moderate one.
After the European Trademarks Office had taken all this into consideration – as well as the fact that the trademarks are being used for identical products – it reached the conclusion that there could be a risk of confusion. The French Football Federation team was therefore successful in its opposition.