Decision on Opposition No B 2 468 968 page: 4 of 7
Both signs are figurative and contain the word ‘SAPO’. In the earlier sign, the verbal
element is depicted in standard, bold, white lower case characters on a black
rectangular background. In the contested sign, the verbal element is depicted in bold,
grey upper case characters; the first and final letters are larger and have two
horizontal white lines at the bottom.
The element ‘SAPO’, present in both signs, will be understood as a ‘toad’ or ‘frog’ by
the relevant public. As it has no connection with the goods in question, it is
The marks have no elements that could be considered clearly more dominant than
Visually, the signs coincide in their sole verbal element, ‘SAPO’, which is distinctive.
However, they differ in their graphical depictions. When comparing signs in terms of
their word elements, similarity may be found despite the fact that the letters are
graphically portrayed in different typefaces, in italics or bold, in upper or lower case or
in colour (18/06/2009, T-418/07, LiBRO, EU:T:2009:208; 15/11/2011, T-434/10,
Alpine Pro Sportswear & Equipment, EU:T:2011:663; 29/11/2012, C-42/12 P, Alpine
Pro Sportswear & Equipment, EU:C:2012:765, appeal dismissed).
Therefore, the signs are visually highly similar.
Aurally, the signs are identical.
Conceptually, reference is made to the previous assertions concerning the semantic
content conveyed by the marks. As both signs will be perceived as ‘toad’ or ‘frog’, the
signs are conceptually identical.
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.
The opponent claimed that the earlier trade mark enjoys enhanced distinctiveness
but did not file any evidence in order to prove such a claim.
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 in question from the perspective of the public in the
relevant territory. Therefore, the distinctiveness of the earlier mark must be seen as
e) Global assessment, other arguments and conclusion
The goods are partly identical and partly dissimilar and they target the public at large
and professionals whose degree of attentiveness will vary from average to high.
The signs are aurally and conceptually identical and visually similar to a high degree.
The only difference between the signs lies in their graphical depictions, which is not
however sufficient to overcome the aural and conceptual identity between the signs.