By decision filed on February 13, 2014, in the proceedings T-380/12, the General Court partially upheld the action for declaration of invalidity of the Community figurative mark "DEMON" (reproduced below) registered in Class 9, covering items including eyewear, sport glasses, ski and snowboard masks, on the basis of the earlier trademark "DEMON" registered in class 28 for snowboarding gear and snowboard protection bags.
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In particular, the General Court annulled the decision of the OHIM’s Board of Appeal, which had dismissed in its entirety the invalidity action of the applicant. The General Court, in fact, cancelled the registration of the later trademark DEMON only in connection with "ski and snowboard masks" considering that only these products can be considered similar to the "snow boards" for which the earlier trademark was registered, with the exception of sports glasses in general.
According to the Court, "snow boards", on the one hand, and "ski and snowboard masks" on the other hand are complementary to each other, as they are part of the main accessories in the practice of the same sporting activity, i.e. the snowboarding.
Moreover, these products share same consumers, outlets and advertising. These elements make consumers believe that their origin can be traced back to a single undertaking.
The Court finally stated that there is a likelihood of confusion between the trademarks at stake also in consideration of the high degree of visual similarity between them. In fact, according to the Court, the signs share the same denominative element "DEMON", that dominates both signs, while the figurative element (i.e. the image of a demon) of the later trademark does not represent a sufficient mean of differentiation as it represents the denominative element.