The General Court, in its decision of March 25, 2014, case T-291/12, stated on the ability of an advertising slogan to be registered as a trademark.

With its judgment the General Court confirmed the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (“OHIM”) decision, which, on the basis of Article 7(1)(b) of Regulation (EC) No. 207/2009 on Community trademarks (“CTMR”), denied the registration as Community trademark of the sign “Passion to Perform” requested by Deutsche Bank AG.

The General Court stated that a trademark consisting of an advertising slogan possesses distinctive character only whether, apart from its promotional function, it is perceived immediately as an indicator of the commercial origin of the goods or services in question.

In the case at stake, the General Court stated that the relevant public – composed of end consumers and commercial undertakings in the UK and in Ireland – would perceive the claim “Passion to Perform” only as a laudatory statement suitable to convey the message that Deutsche Bank promises its clients that it will perform its services with passion. Consequently, the sign is incapable of fulfilling its function of distinguishing the claimed services as to their commercial origin.

For the abovementioned reasons, the General Court affirmed that the requested trademark lacks of distinctive character and, therefore, fails to comply with article 71)(b) CTMR.