18 March 2019Trademarks

American Airlines successfully defends UK TM opposition

The  UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has handed a victory to  American Airlines after it rejected a trademark opposition brought by French footwear company  Aigle International.

The  decision was issued last Thursday, March 14.

American Airlines applied to register a mark for its logo, covering class 25 for clothing and footwear, in 2017.

Aigle opposed the mark, citing an EU trademark for its own design in classes, 9, 18 and 25 which was registered in 2016 (number 15713761).

The French company argued that as both marks had the silhouette of an eagle flying from left to right as their dominant component, there was a likelihood of confusion.

UKIPO, however, agreed with American Airlines’ argument that there was little in its mark  to give the average consumer the impression that it was intended to resemble an eagle.

The office also found that the level of visual similarity between the marks was “low”, noting that the American Airlines mark had a “different look and feel” to Aigle’s.

In assessing Aigle’s argument that its mark had acquired distinctiveness, UKIPO said that the French company had failed to produce sufficient evidence establishing how well-known the mark was.

UKIPO said Aigle’s annual sales (89,000 units in 2017) of the goods and services in question were not “overly significant”.

The office found “no reason why the average consumer would believe that the goods sold under the respective marks come from the same or economically linked undertakings”.

Aigle was ordered to pay costs of £1900 to American Airlines, whose mark will now proceed to registration.

A spokesperson for American Airlines told WIPR that the company was "pleased with the decision".

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