On February 6, 2013, the General Court issued two decisions on the interpretation of article 7.1 (c) (Absolute grounds of refusal) of the Council regulation no. 207/2009 on the Community trademark (CTMR).
The General Court upheld OHIM’s Board of Appeal decisions that rejected, pursuant to article 7.1 (c), the applications filed for the “Méditation transcendental” and “Trascendental meditation” trademarks filed in relation with class 16 (instructional and teaching material), 41 (education, providing of training, entertainment), 44 (medical services, hygienic and beauty care for human beings) and 45 (personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals).
According to the General Court, under section 7.1 (c) of CTM Regulation, signs that have a “sufficiently direct and specific relationship with the goods or services in question to enable the public concerned immediately to perceive, without further thought, a description of the category of goods and services in question or one of their characteristics” can not be registered. The General Court also clarified that “it is sufficient that at least one of the possible meanings of a word sign designates a characteristic of the goods or services concerned”.
Since the relevant trademarks are composed by words sharing a common Latin stem and that are present in identical or very similar forms in many EU languages, the relevant public should extend to almost the whole EU, with the only exception of those countries having non-Latin based languages (Bulgaria and Greece).