Decision on Opposition No B 2 814 245 page: 5 of 9
mind, in particular, their distinctive and dominant components (11/11/1997, C-251/95,
Sabèl, EU:C:1997:528, § 23).
The marks as a whole have no meaning. However, the Court has held that, although
the average consumer normally perceives a mark as a whole and does not proceed
to analyse its various details, the fact remains that, when perceiving a word sign, they
will break it down into elements which, for them, suggest a specific meaning or which
resemble words they know (judgment of 13/02/2007, T-256/04, ‘Respicur’, paragraph
The element ‘2’ present in both marks will be perceived as the cardinal number two,
or by the English-speaking public in an informal short way to say ‘to’. It has no direct
meaning in relation to the relevant goods and services and is, therefore, distinctive.
Although the last letter ‘e’ in the contested sign is in a different colour, it cannot be
excluded that part of the relevant public (for example the English-speaking public) will
perceive it, together with the preceding letter ‘M’, as the word ‘Me’, ‘a reference to the
speaker as the object of a verb or preposition’. When the English-speaking public will
perceive the element ‘Me’, it will also be likely that the number ‘2’ will be perceived as
‘to’, forming the expression ‘to me’. These elements have, however, no relevant
meaning in relation to the relevant goods and services for the relevant public and are,
therefore, distinctive regardless of the manner in which they are perceived.
As regards the earlier mark, it is composed of distinctive verbal elements and a less
distinctive figurative element of a purely decorative nature, namely the red figurative
element between the two letters ‘M’. Therefore, the verbal elements are more
distinctive than the figurative element. In this respect, it can also be noted that when
signs consist of both verbal and figurative components, in principle, the verbal
component of the sign usually has a stronger impact on the consumer than the
figurative component. This is because the public does not tend to analyse signs and
will more easily refer to the signs in question by their verbal element than by
describing their figurative elements (14/07/2005, T-312/03, Selenium-Ace,
EU:T:2005:289, § 37).
The marks have no element that could be considered clearly more dominant than
Visually, the verbal element ‘M2M’ of the earlier mark is fully incorporated at the
beginning of the contested sign. Consumers generally tend to focus on the beginning
of a sign when they encounter a trade mark. This is because the public reads from
left to right, which makes the part placed at the left of the sign (the initial part) the one
that first catches the attention of the reader. However, the marks differ in the last
green letter ‘e’ of the contested sign and in the less distinctive figurative element in
the earlier mark. Furthermore, the marks differ in their stylisation, which is, however,
not that elaborated that it can take away the attention from the verbal elements.
Therefore, the signs are visually similar to an average degree.
Aurally, irrespective of the different pronunciation rules in different parts of the
relevant territory, the pronunciation of the signs coincides for a significant part of the
relevant public in the sound of the letters ‘M2M’, which will be pronounced depending
on the language as ‘M deux M’ (French), ‘M dos M’ (Spanish), ‘M twee M’ (Dutch),
etc. For this part of the relevant public, the pronunciation differs in the sound of the
last letter ‛e’ of the contested sign, which has no counterpart in the earlier mark. For
the part of the relevant public that will perceive the element ‘Me’ in the contested
sign, the pronunciation will also slightly differ in the sound of the second letter ‘M’.