The applicant filed the term DiVITA for pastry. The owner of the European mark CIVITA used also for pastry filed opposition.
The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) rejected the opposition saying that many consumers know the meaning of the Latin word VITA and that of the Italian word CIVITA, so the likelihood of confusion can be excluded.
The opponent requested review with the Metropolitan Tribunal. The latter held that it was erroneous to consider that the average consumer in Hungary understands the Latin and the Italian terms. Both terms ought to be considered in Hungary as fancy words and examined as such. Starting from the consideration appreciating the comparison results in a serious similarity and as a result the application for registration of the sign DiVITA was dismissed. (3.Pk.20.206/2016)
I fully agree with the statement of the Tribunal that the average Hungarian housewife does not understand either Latin or Italian, therefore the qualification of the two signs as “fancy names” is convincing.
However, the final result, i.e. statement of likelihood of confusion seems to me somewhat problematic: the visual difference of one letter is in opposition with the completely different meaning of the two terms: DiVITA (of life) and CIVITA (town), even if they are not understood by the relevant Hungarian public. Maybe a global assessment in an eventual appeal procedure with the Metropolitan Court of Appeal would lead to another result.