Chanel loses trademark lawsuit against Huawei after close to four-year tussle

Chanel recently lost a trademark lawsuit against Huawei after the General Court of the European Union ruled that their logos bore no similarities. This comes nearly four years after the tussle first began in 2017 when Huawei applied to register for a mark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in September for computer hardware. Months later in December, Chanel filed a notice of opposition to registration of the mark on the grounds that it bore similarities to its own earlier French marks registered for perfumes, cosmetics, costume jewellery, leather goods and clothes.

In November 2019, however, the European Union Intellectual Property Office rejected Chanel's application on the ground that the mark Huawei applied for was not similar to those two marks, the second mark having been relied on as having a reputation, and that there was no likelihood of confusion on the part of the relevant public.

In its latest judgement, the General Court of the European Union said in a statement that the marks at issue must be compared in the form in which they are registered and applied for, irrespective of any possible rotation in their use on the market. The General Court found that the mark (pictured top below) applied for by Huawei is "a figurative sign consisting of a circle containing two curves resembling the image of two black letters 'u’ positioned vertically and as an inverted mirror image, which cross and intersect to form a central element constituting a horizontal ellipse".

Meanwhile, Chanel's marks (pictured bottom below) comprise two curves resembling the image of two black letters ‘c’ positioned horizontally and as an inverted mirror image, which cross and intersect to form a central element constituting a vertical ellipse, the second mark bearing the special feature of those curves being contained in a circle.

chanel huawei logo

"The marks at issue share some similarities but their visual differences are significant. In particular, Chanel’s marks have more rounded curves, thicker lines and horizontal orientation, whereas the orientation of the Huawei mark is vertical," the General Court said. Consequently, it concluded that the marks are different.

With regards to the likelihood of confusion among consumers, the General Court said that in so far as the signs at issue are not similar, the other relevant factors for the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion cannot under any circumstances offset and make up for that dissimilarity and therefore there is no need to examine them.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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