Ken Wolter /
28 November 2014Trademarks

Aldi trademark claims dismissed by General Court

Supermarket retailer Aldi has failed in its latest attempt to cancel a trademark owned by a Spanish company that it said was too similar to its own.

In a decision released on Wednesday (November 26), the General Court at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said there was “no risk” of confusion between the marks ‘Alifoods’ and ‘Aldi’.

The dispute between Alifoods and multinational Aldi can be traced back to 2010. Alifoods, based in Alicante, Spain, had applied to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market ( OHIM) to register a Community trademark (CTM) for its name in October of that year.

But German brand Aldi, which had registered its own CTM for the word ‘Aldi’ in 2000, opposed the application.

Alifoods’s application, covering food and drink services, was for a figurative mark in red font with a green and red stripe in an arc above it. Aldi’s CTM, which also covers several other services, is a word trademark.

Aldi’s opposition, based on the alleged similarity between the signs and the fact that the latter mark was registered for similar services, was rejected by OHIM's opposition division in 2012 and the following year by its board of appeal.

In Wednesday’s judgment, the General Court—the lower chamber of the CJEU—rejected Aldi’s appeal against the OHIM decision.

“It is appropriate to consider … that those signs are generally different visually and phonetically,” the General Court said.

It added that “no risk of confusion” could be found in the case, “regardless of the reputation of the earlier marks and the identity or similarity of the goods or services concerned”.

Aldi did not respond to a request for comment on whether it would be appealing against the decision.

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