3 December 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

Luxury Swedish bedmaker loses fabric pattern appeal at CJEU

The EU General Court has dismissed an appeal brought by Swedish luxury bed maker Hästens over a rejected fabric pattern trademark.

Hästens specialises in manufacturing bedroom furniture and associated products such as pillows and bed linen.

In December 2016, the Swedish company applied for an EU trademark covering a four-tone mark consisting of fabric-patterned squares.

The mark covered classes 20, 24, 25, and 35, including goods and services such as bedroom furniture, woven textiles, clothing, and marketing.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) refused registration for the mark in January 2018, finding that the mark lacked distinctive character for the applied-for goods and services.

That decision was upheld by an EUIPO appeals board in August that year. According to the appeals board, the fabric design was not notably different to the kinds of chequered designs commonly found in the textiles.

The pattern would also likely be perceived as an “attractive detail” rather than an indication of commercial origin, the EUIPO found.

Hästens challenged the EUIPO’s ruling at the General Court. In today’s ruling, the court backed the IP office’s finding that the mark lacked distinctive character.

According to the court, the EUIPO appeals board was “fully entitled to find that the mark applied for did not differ significantly from the norm or customs of the sector”.

Hästens also argued that the EUIPO had failed to state its reasons for finding a lack of distinctive character with respect to each of the goods and services.

In this case, the court ruled that the EUIPO was authorised to give only a “general reasoning” for all the goods and services together because they were interlinked in a “direct and specific way”.

The court ordered Hästens to pay costs.

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