GEISTWERT: Successful at European General Court with “Neutralization” Argument

In the decision T-257/14 of 6 March 2015, the General Court of the European Union decided on an action lodged against the Office For Harmonisation in the Internal Market, shortly “OHIM” (Link). We are happy that the Court entirely followed GEISTWERT’s arguments: therefore, when comparing “BLACK JACK” with ”BLACK TRACK”, it primarily has to be assessed whether the conceptual differences between the signs in question counteract/neutralize their possible oral and visual similarities. In this context, it more importantly also has to be considered that OHIM’s Board of Appeal already held that the relevant public will understand “BLACK JACK” as referring to the correspondent card game. Thus, the General Court granted the action and referred the case back to OHIM’s Board of Appeal. OHIM’s Board of Appeal now must decide on the illustrated question of “neutralization” in the case at hand.

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