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Case File No XXII GWzt 15/08

British Petroleum  p.l.c. requested that:

The respondent be prohibited from infringing the claimant’s registered rights of Community trade mark Nos 1 991, 1 142 363, 1 968 403, 3 363 652 and 1 916 550 by prohibiting it from:

a)using green as dominant colour on the outer surfaces of any buildings, structures and other elements of the ‘AS’ petrol station located in S or any other petrol station, in particular on the outer surfaces of roofed structures erected over the refueling points, on the station’s roof, boards placed on roofed pillars of the structures erected over the refueling points, signboards placed over each refueling point informing about the type of fuel available at a given point;

b) using the word and figurative sign of a round shape reminiscent of the image of a flower, whose central part is white, where the ring around the white centre is yellow and the outer layer, being composed of smaller elements, is green, on any element of the abovementioned petrol station or in its vicinity or any element of any other petrol station or element in the vicinity thereof (including elements of interior design), on any signboard, board or otherwise.

Resolution of the General Court

The Court decided to dismiss the respondent’s request for evidence because the Court adjudicating in cases for infringement of the registered rights of Community trademarks is competent to assess the risk of confusion.

Motivation:

The global assessment implies some interdependence between the factors taken into account, and in particular similarity between the trademarks and between the goods or services covered. Accordingly, a lesser degree of similarity between these goods or services may be offset by a greater degree of similarity between the trademarks, and vice versa.

In accordance with the established case-law, a likelihood of confusion exists when the public might believe that the goods or services in question come from the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically-linked undertakings.

The likelihood of confusion must be assessed globally, according to the relevant consumer’s perception and with account being taken of all factors relevant to the circumstances of the case, in particular the interdependence between the similarity of the signs and that of the goods or services designated.

Consequently, in the view of the Court, the infringement of the claimant’s registered rights to the Community trade marks by the respondent fully justified imposing the sanctions on the respondent pursuant to Article 9(2) of the Regulation. The Court found no reasons for deciding otherwise.

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