Law & Practice

EUROPEAN UNION: Louis Vuitton Versus Its Mirror Image

Published: March 16, 2022

Kerem Gokmen Grup Ofis Marka Patent Istanbul, Turkey INTA Bulletins—Europe Subcommittee


Massimo Gori Società Italiana Brevetti S.p.A. Rome, Italy INTA Bulletins—Europe Subcommittee

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) Opposition Division has rejected Louis Vuitton Malletier’s opposition (B.3 133 780) against the figurative mark NL LOVES VITTORIO, filed by Aina Yang on January 14, 2022 (application number 018306124). Louis Vuitton relied upon EU Trade Mark (EUTM) and International Registrations. The parties’ respective marks are shown below:

LV logo

Louis Vuitton’s earlier mark (left) and Aina Yang’s contested mark (right)

The contested mark consists of “NL” or “LN” letters, with no specific meaning and the words “Loves Vittorio.” The EUIPO considered the mark distinctive and deemed the letters, depicted in italics, to be recognizable and perceptible. Additionally, after evaluating the phrase “Loves Vittorio,” and given that “love” is a commonly used English word, the EUIPO accepted the word “Vittorio” as distinctive. Further, the EUIPO found the letters “NL” or “LN” can be understood to be the initials of a person who loves a person named Vittorio.

According to the decision, the marks are considered marginally visually similar. The only letter in common is L, which is part of a two-letter design (with that letter L in italics and the two letters juxtaposed). It also determined that the marks are aurally similar to a very low degree. As such, the EUIPO found that the stylized letters will not deceive consumers and the phrase in the contested mark removes the possibility of the confusion among consumers.

Louis Vuitton also invoked Article 8(5) of the EUTM Regulation 1001/2017, which provides that a trademark application can be refused if an earlier mark enjoys a reputation where it is registered, and where, if used, the trademark applied for would be detrimental to, or take unfair advantage of, the distinctive character or repute of the earlier right. Despite the fact that Louis Vuitton has relied upon its well-known status in the EU, no evidence was submitted concerning the reputation of its trademark in the course of the proceedings.

The opposition was rejected in its entirety.

Author’s Insight

In some cases, opposers can be overconfident about their marks’ reputation but, as the case at hand shows, this does not remove the requirement to actually prove such reputation.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

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