In 2015 Serendipity S.r.l. filed an application to register the figurative sign “Chiara Ferragni” for the classes 18 and 25. The opposition filed by a Dutch company that holds the earlier Benelux word trade mark ‘Chiara’ registered in class 25 against the above trademark was found successful, as the EUIPO found subsisting likelihood of confusion. Subsequently, the GC annulled the EUIPO decision.


The General Court recently issued a ruling on the trademark case bearing the name of the famous Italian influencer. The case shows how vital trademarks are in the fashion industry. In the visual comparison of signs composed by word and figurative elements, word elements are considered to be, as a general principle, more distinctive than figurative elements; in particular, consumers would more likely identify the products by saying the name of the trademark, rather than describing its figurative element. However, in complex trademarks the figurative element may be as important as the word element, taken in consideration its shape, dimension, color or position.

The GC held that the figurative element of “CHIARA FERRAGNI” is very peculiar, as it represents a stylized eye with long black lashes; the position and the dimension of the eye make the figurative element predominant in the sign. Therefore, consumers would easily memorize it, perceiving it as an elaborate and original element of the sign. In addition, the element “Ferragni” is visually more important than “Chiara”. It follows that the earlier trademark “Chiara” and the sign “Chiara Ferragni” should have been considered similar to a low extent. Turning to the assessment of the aural similarity, it can be stated that consumers usually focus on the initial part of the sign, which is the same in this case. However, as “Chiara Ferragni” is also a given name and a surname, it cannot be affirmed that the public focuses more on the name rather than on the surname, considered that it is a foreign name for Benelux’ consumers.

Furthermore, just because the marks contain the same female name, this does not mean that the marks are conceptually similar. Indeed, the trademark applied for identifies and distinguishes a certain person, that is a person belonging to the Ferragni family, while the earlier trademark only refers to a name without identifying a certain person. Coming to the assessment of likelihood of confusion, the GC found that the visual similarity of the signs plays a central role in determining the likelihood of confusion, as the products of class 18 and 25 are usually sold in self-service shops. In this type of situation, consumers’ attention is certainly captured by the blue eye sign, rather than by the word “Chiara”.

Despite the existence of a similarity between the products at issue, the differences between the signs, in particular from a visual standpoint, are sufficient to exclude the subsistence of any risk of confusion in the perception of the relevant public.



A famous German brew master, holder of the German trademark “la Bianca” and assisted by LGV partners Luigi Goglia and Tankred Thiem, successfully opposed the registration of a similar European trademark filed by the notorious beer producer Heineken (today’s holder of the Italian brand “Birra Moretti”). The decision, issued by EUIPO after the long opposition procedure, confirmed that the prior sign “la Bianca” is a legitimate ground for refusing the registration of the sign “La Bianca” filed by Heineken Italia S.p.a.


Con On January 30th, 2019, EUIPO opposition division rejected the application for the registration of the figurative sign “La Bianca” filed by Heineken S.p.a. in 2016. It was found that it was lacking the novelty requirement as the German brew master already registered and used the sign “la Bianca” for beer and similar products.

In first place, EUIPO ascertained that the prior sign was genuinely used by the brew master from 2011 to 2016 to identify his own craft beer. In second place, it was found that the sign filed by Heineken for registration was confusingly similar to the prior German trademark, so the application was rejected.In particular, EUIPO held that the distinctive element in both signs was the identical expression “La Bianca”, while the figurative and word element of Heineken’s sign (the notorious Moretti’s mustache bearing the general trademark “Birra Moretti” and “Luigi Moretti”) are not likely to strike at the attention of the average consumer. Therefore, the signs were considered extremely similar – not to say identical – as long as the products – beer – were found to be related.

The EUIPO decision is of “political” importance, as it shows that the trademark hold by a craft brew master is enough to combat the monopoly of multinationals in the field of beer production and trade. The decision also outlines that companies tend to create “special” signs or add further elements to their “general” trademarks to characterize new product lines. In this case the prior sign “la Bianca” could be confusingly be considered a new line of Heineken beer, which is not true. Heineken further claimed that it should be taken into consideration the reputation in the field of its general trademark “Birra Moretti”. The office rejected the argument on grounds of the EU Trademark Regulation, according to which the exclusive rights on the sign are conferred by the registration of the sign. Hence, whatever happened before the application was filed is not relevant for the registration.

The decision is not definitive, and it has already been appealed before the appeal commission of EUIPO. Who knows whether the German brew master will finally wipe the smile off Moretti for “la Bianca”?



In its decision of 16 January 2019, EUIPO declared the revocation of the trade mark “BIG MAC”, owned by McDonald’s. Therefore, McDonald’s risks not to use the contested trademark exclusively within the European Union.


The recent EUIPO decision marks an important achievement in the fight started by the Irish fast food chain Supermac, which filed an application under Article 58(1)(a) of the EU Trade Mark Regulation, seeking the revocation – in its entirety – of McDonald’s trademark “BIG MAC”, which would not actually be used for a continuous period of five years.

As this is an application for revocation for non-use, the burden of proof to prove the actual use of the trade mark for all the goods and services for which registration has been obtained rests with the trade mark owner and not with the applicant. In the present case, the mark “BIG MAC” was registered for classes 29, 30 and 42 of the Nice Classification and therefore McDonald’s provided evidence of use to the Cancellation Division of the European Office. In particular, the following evidence was produced: three affidavits signed by representatives of McDonald’s illustrating in detail the sales figures for the period 2011-2016; brochures and prints of advertising posters, dated between 2011 and 2016; Prints of some McDonald’s websites, dated between 7/1/2014 and 3/10/2016; a print from a Wikipedia entry providing information on McDonald’s Big Mac. In addition, McDonald’s did not provide evidence from third parties and no indication was given as to how the brochures were disseminated nor were any data provided from which it could be inferred that those brochures had led to actual purchases by the consumer public. The Cancellation Division also found the voice of Wikipedia to be of little relevance, noting that anyone can modify the voice of Wikipedia.

The Cancellation Division therefore considered that those tests – after a global assessment of them – were neither sufficient nor appropriate to demonstrate actual and genuine use during the period of time in question (11/4/2012 – 10/4/2017). Therefore, EUIPO declared the mark “BIG MAC” null and void for non-use. However, McDonald’s may appeal such a decision within two months of the date on which it was issued.



The lodging of the security of 1.34 billion Euro by Qualcomm enforced the judgment of first instance issued by the Court of Munich


This is the new development in the judicial affair between the two tech giants Qualcomm and Apple. After having obtained a ban on sales of some iPhone models in China, surpassed by Apple with iOS 12 software update, Qualcomm takes another important step in Germany.

According to the judgment issued on December 20, 2018 by the Court of Munich, the Cupertino group has infringed some patents relating to power amplification and battery power for its iPhone 7, 7 plus and 8. The German Court ordered Apple to stop selling, distributing and offering the three models of smartphones in all the famous Apple Stores located in Germany, as well as the recall of the devices from all third-party retailers.

In order for this first instance judgment to become enforceable, Qualcomm had to deposit a large sum as security, in case that in the Appeal Apple manages to prove its rights, reversing the result of first instance.



After the much appreciated first edition of the commentaries on the European Trade Mark Regulation and on the Community Design now both work’s second editions are available.


Drafted by a carefully selected team of specialized practitioners, both commentaries address each single article and apply the German style approach of analyzing element-per-element. The books include specific sections dedicated to all European Union Member States and include the contributions – inter alia the Italy country sections – of LGV’s Tankred Thiem.

During the official presentation ceremony hold in Berlin, the books have been praised as being a contribution to a genuine European Union legal culture. Written in straight – forward English language and directed to professionals all throughout Europe, a particular focus is put on the ECJ’s case law. Thanks to the efforts of a joint publisher team – a team of different editors including the German C.H. Beck oHG, Nomos Verlag and the UK-based Hart Publishing – both commentaries are available not only on the European market but also in the US and in Canada.