Decision on Opposition No B 2 472 036 page: 7 of 12
small beetle and taking into consideration the additional concept of ‘adventures’ in
the contested sign, the signs are conceptually highly similar.
As the signs have been found similar in at least one aspect of the comparison, the
examination of likelihood of confusion will proceed.
d) Distinctiveness of the earlier mark
The distinctiveness of the earlier mark is one of the factors to be taken into account
in the global assessment of likelihood of confusion.
According to the opponent, the earlier mark has been extensively used and enjoys an
enhanced scope of protection. However, for reasons of procedural economy, the
evidence filed by the opponent to prove this claim does not have to be assessed in
the present case (see below in ‘Global assessment’).
Consequently, the assessment of the distinctiveness of the earlier mark will rest on its
distinctiveness per se. In the present case, the earlier trade mark as a whole has no
meaning for any of the goods and services in question from the perspective of the
public in the relevant territory, namely, the English-speaking public. Therefore, the
distinctiveness of the earlier mark must be seen as normal.
e) Global assessment, other arguments and conclusion
The appreciation of likelihood of confusion on the part of the public depends on
numerous elements and, in particular, on the recognition of the earlier mark on the
market, the association which can be made with the registered mark, the degree of
similarity between the marks and between the goods or services identified (recital 8
of the EUTMR). It must be appreciated globally, taking into account all factors
relevant to the circumstances of the case (22/06/1999, C342/97, Lloyd Schuhfabrik,
EU:C:1999:323, § 18; 11/11/1997, C251/95, Sabèl, EU:C:1997:528, § 22).
In the present case, the goods and services are partly identical, partly similar and
partly dissimilar. The signs are visually and aurally similar to an average degree at
least and conceptually highly similar on account of the fact that most of the earlier
mark is reproduced at the beginning of the contested sign and that both signs will
bring to mind the distinctive concept of a ladybird. Although the additional word in the
contested sign is distinctive in relation to some of the goods and services, as
mentioned in part c), consumers generally tend to focus on the beginning of a sign
when they encounter a trade mark and will therefore not pay as much attention to this
term as to the first one.
Account is taken of the fact that average consumers rarely have the chance to make
a direct comparison between different marks, but must trust in their imperfect
recollection of them (22/06/1999, C-342/97, Lloyd Schuhfabrik, EU:C:1999:323,
§ 26). Even consumers who pay a high degree of attention need to rely on their
imperfect recollection of trade marks (21/11/2013, T-443/12, ancotel, EU:T:2013:605,
Likelihood of confusion covers situations where the consumer directly confuses the
trade marks themselves, or where the consumer makes a connection between the
conflicting signs and assumes that the goods/services covered are from the same or
economically linked undertakings.