Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
29 May 2003
Hearing Officer
Mr D Landau
16, 25, 36, 42
Paul Darlington
V&S Vin & Sprit Aktiebolag
Sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) & 5(4)(a)


Section 5(2)(b) - Opposition failed

Section 5(3) - Opposition failed

Section 5(4)(a) - Opposition failed

Points Of Interest

  • 1. None


The opponents opposition was based on their ownership of a large number of UK and Community registrations of their marks ABSOLUT and ABSOLUT and other words in a range of Classes, and in the context of Section 5(2)(b), in Classes 16 and 25. They also claimed extensive use of their marks from the early 1990s in relation to vodka.

Under Section 5(2)(b) the Hearing Officer noted that identical goods were at issue in relation to the relevant Classes 16 and 25 and went on to compare the respective marks. He found the marks phonetically, visually and conceptually different and concluded that the respective marks ABSOLUT and ABSOLUTE RIGHT and device were not confusingly similar. Opposition failed on this ground.

As regards Section 5(3) where the opposition was based on dissimilar goods and services the Hearing Officer concluded that as he had found the respective marks not to be similar under Section 5(2)(b), the Section 3 ground must also fail. However, he went on to consider this ground in detail in relation to the reputation claimed by the opponents. He accepted that there had been fairly extensive use but the evidence filed was somewhat vague and unfocussed and he was unable to conclude that they had a significant reputation in their mark, such as would read across to other unassociated goods and services. Opposition failed on this ground.

Under the Section 5(4)(a) ground – Passing Off – the Hearing Officer accepted that the opponents had a goodwill in their mark in relation to vodka. However, in view of the differences in the respective marks and in the respective goods and services, he considered that there was no likelihood of damage to the opponents mark. Opposition also failed on this ground.

Full decision O/146/03 PDF document190Kb