Italian company Amaretti Virginia applied for international trademark protection for the designation ‘Virginia’ and included Hungary as a territory in its application.
Amaretti sought protection for the word in classes 29, 30, 31 32 and 33 under the Nice Agreement. These classes cover goods and services such as meat, coffee, agricultural products, beer and alcoholic beverages.
The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) rejected Amaretti’s trademark application. According to HIPO, the designation Virginia could deceive the public as to the goods indicated in the list of goods and services, and consumers might erroneously think that the goods originated from the US.
Virginian tobacco and the US state of Virginia are known in Hungary; therefore, in HIPO’s opinion, the designation would bring the name of the US state to consumers’ minds. The State of Virginia is also one of the great agrarian areas in the US, so consumers may assume that products labelled with the mark ‘Virginia’ originate from the US.