Decision on Opposition No B 2 514 449 page: 6 of 11
The global appreciation of the visual, aural or conceptual similarity of the marks in
question must be based on the overall impression given by the marks, bearing in
mind, in particular, their distinctive and dominant components (11/11/1997, C-251/95,
Sabèl, EU:C:1997:528, § 23).
Firstly, the registered trade mark symbol as found in minute lettering at the end of the
contested sign, merely indicates that sign is purportedly registered and is not part of
the trade mark as such. Consequently, this will not be taken into consideration for the
purposes of comparison.
As regards the verbal elements of the signs, although both are composed of one
verbal element, the relevant consumers, when perceiving a verbal sign, will break it
down into elements that suggest a concrete meaning, or that resemble words that
they already know (13/02/2007, T-256/04, Respicur, EU:T:2007:46, § 57; 13/02/2008,
T-146/06, Aturion, EU:T:2008:33, § 58).
In view of the foregoing, the element ‘plus’ will be perceived in both marks and it is
not particularly distinctive, as it will convey a vaguely positive message, evoking the
idea of ‘something more’ or that the services offer something additional (see decision
of 02/03/2017, R 1736/2016-4, SMARTPLUS, § 19). Therefore, this element is
laudatory and its distinctiveness is deemed to be lower than average.
The element ‘e’ is generally used to refer to the concept of ‘electronic’, or to the fact
that an action can be performed electronically, through the internet or the web. This is
considered descriptive of all the services on which the opposition is based, and
therefore non-distinctive for them. The fact it is conjoined to ‘plus’ does not alter this
conclusion since the relevant public is used to seeing ‘e’ with or without a hyphen or
The element ‘see’ from the contested sign means ‘lake’ in German and the English
word used to refer to the act of seeing or perceiving something visually may also be
understood given that the relevant consumers will be a professional public with at
least a rudimentary knowledge of English. In both scenarios this element is distinctive
as no connection can be made with the services in question.
Finally, the figurative circular device depicted in orange at the beginning of the
contested sign has a limited impact due to its non-distinctive nature as it is rather an
abstract and banal figurative element that will be perceived as performing a purely
Visually, the earlier mark is wholly included in the contested sign and the only
differences reside in the aforementioned figurative element, the first two letters of the
contested sign ‘se’ and the typeface. Given that consumers generally tend to focus
on the first part of a sign when being confronted with a trade mark, this difference is
particularly important. This is justified by the fact that 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.
Therefore in view of these considerations and taking into account the low distinctive
character of ‘plus’, the signs are visually similar to a low degree.
Aurally, the pronunciation of the signs coincides in the sounds deriving from ‘e(e)’
and ‘plus’ but differ in the sound of the consonant ‘S’ at the beginning of the
Bearing in mind the previous assertions, the signs are aurally similar to a low degree.