Facts

The applicant filed the mark DiVITA for pastry. The owner of the EU mark CIVITA, which was also used for pastry, filed an opposition action.

The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office rejected the opposition, holding that since many consumers know what the Latin term 'vita' and the Italian term 'civita' mean, no likelihood of confusion existed. The opponent requested a review before the Metropolitan Tribunal, which held that it was erroneous to consider that the average Hungarian consumer would know what the Latin and Italian terms mean. Rather, the tribunal held that both terms should be considered 'fancy' words in Hungary and examined as such. In light of this consideration, the tribunal held that the two marks were largely similar. As a result, the registration application for the mark DiVITA was rejected (3.Pk.20.206/2016).

Comment

The tribunal's statement that the average Hungarian knows neither Latin nor Italian is arguably correct. As such, the qualification of the two signs as 'fancy' names is convincing.

However, the final result (ie, likelihood of confusion) is somewhat problematic. The different spelling implies the completely different meaning of the marks DiVITA (ie, of life) and CIVITA (ie, town), even if the terms are not understood by the relevant Hungarian public. As such, a global assessment in an eventual appeal procedure before the Metropolitan Court of Appeal could lead to a different result.

For further information on this topic please contact Alexander Vida at Danubia Patent & Law Office LLC by telephone (+36 1 411 8800) or email (vida@danubia.hu). The Danubia Patent & Law Office website can be accessed at www.danubia.hu.

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