Decision on Opposition No B 2 792 987 page: 4 of 6
particularly marked in the contested sign. That is not only due to the fact that the
letter ‘C’ and the element ‘LED’ are not conjoined, but also on account of the
presence of the red figurative element between them. Moreover, given that the
element ‘LED’ of the contested sign is non-distinctive, it will not be capable of holding
the public’s attention. It has to be taken into account that the signs at issue are rather
short. In short signs, every single letter and feature has a significant weight in the
perception of the public.
Therefore, the signs are not visually similar for the part of the public which does not
single out the element ‘LED’ in the earlier mark.
From the perspective of the remaining part of the public, the signs have no visual
similarity either. That is because, in this scenario, the element ‘LED’ will be perceived
as non-distinctive also in the earlier mark, and the overlap in this element will have
Aurally, the part of the public which does not recognise ‘LED’ as an element of the
earlier mark is likely to pronounce the earlier mark as /slɛd/ and the contested sign as
/se-lɛd/. Notwithstanding the coincidence in four sounds, namely /s*lɛd/, the signs do
differ in the additional vowel of the contested sign, /e/, and the number of syllables in
which each sign will be enunciated. Specifically, the earlier mark will be a
monosyllabic word, but the contested sign will have two clearly pronounced syllables.
The coincidence in the sequence of the sounds /led/ is made less detectable by, on
the one hand, the fact that the element ‘LED’ will not be singled out in the earlier
mark since it is not attributed a meaning of its own and, on the other hand, the fact
that these sounds form part of the same syllable together with the preceding letter,
‘S’. It must be recalled that the element ‘LED’ of the contested sign is non-distinctive,
which diminishes the weight of this coincidence between the signs. Furthermore,
since the signs under comparison are rather short, the abovementioned differences
will be mentally registered by the average consumer.
Therefore, for the part of the public which does not single out the element ‘LED’ in the
earlier mark, the signs are aurally similar to a low degree.
Also where ‘LED’ is recognised as an element of the earlier mark, there will be a
section of the public which will pronounce the signs as /slɛd/ and /se-lɛd/. The
abovementioned considerations apply to this scenario, with the additional
circumstance that the overlapping element will be perceived as non-distinctive.
Nevertheless, it is admitted that there is a low degree of aural similarity between the
signs, given the limited differences between them.
As regards the remaining part of the public, however, it cannot be excluded that the
earlier mark is pronounced as a two-syllable word. Triggered by the perception of
‘LED’ as a meaningful element, the public will tend to separate it from the rest of the
mark and thus the initial letter, ‘S’, will be sounded out like a syllable, /ɛs/.
For this part the public, the pronunciation of the earlier mark is likely to be /ɛs-lɛd/, as
opposed to the contested sign sounding like /se-lɛd/. Given that the element ‘LED’
will be perceived as non-distinctive in both signs and that the public’s attention will be
diverted to the other components of the signs, namely the initial syllables which
feature readily notable differences, and also bearing in mind the fact that the signs
are rather short, it is concluded that for this part of the public the signs are not aurally