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A Sweet Victory for Haribo


October 30, 2018

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As reported by the World Intellectual Property Review, the German confectionery giant, Haribo, has successfully opposed Trade Group Europe’s trademark application.


Trade Group Europe had filed a trademark application for the mark, “Magic Circus”, with the first word in black lettering and the second in red. Haribo was concerned that customers would confuse the proposed mark with its “Circus” mark for which it has held a Danish trademark since 2016. The “Circus” mark is written in “eye-catching red colour” and is registered in a class that includes candy, sweets, chewing gum and lollipops.


On September 27, the European Union Intellectual Property Office upheld the Opposition Board’s decision to reject Trade Group Europe’s application.


In 2017, the Opposition Board had originally held that the word “Circus” was the dominant element of the applied for mark and “Magic” would likely be construed by consumers as an adjective.


Trade Group Europe subsequently filed a notice of appeal and argued that consumers focus on the beginning of a trademark, and thus would be able to distinguish the two. This argument was unsuccessful.


The Fourth Board of Appeal held that, despite the fact that “Magic” was going to be in black letters and “Circus” was going to be in red, the marks were not sufficiently distinct.


Author: Sam Galway

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