French high fashion house Chanel which specialises in haute couture clothes, luxury goods and fashion accessories recently won a trade mark dispute at the EU General Court to protect its iconic double “C” logo. This win marked a turnaround of events for Chanel who had been locked in a trade mark battle since 2010 with China-born, Spain-based Li Jing Zhou and Golden Rose 999 Srl, a company based in Rome.
The background to the case was that Li Jing Zhou applied for a trade mark featuring two interlocking ‘S’s at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in 2010. The trade mark application was accepted and registered under number 1689027-0001 for use on jewellery in connection with Italian wholesale jewellery company Golden Rose 999 Srl. Chanel tried to have the registered trade mark revoked and brought an application before the Cancellation Division of the EUIPO to invalidate the mark in 2013 but this was twice rejected in 2014.
Recently in July 2017 the EU General Court ruled that the lookalike trade mark being used by the Golden Rose 999 jewellery company infringed Chanel’s two interlocking ‘C’s registered trade mark. The EU General Court agreed that the two logos had “remarkable similarities” to the point where consumers could be confused and overturned the previous unfavourable ruling from the EUIPO Appeals Board.
The court annulled the EUIPO’s decision, but did not declare the contested mark to be null and void (as per Chanel’s original request) as it was not within its power to do so. That decision can now be appealed at the Court of Justice of the European Union.