Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1420/06

November 11th, 2006, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 31 October 2006, case file VI SA/Wa 1420/06 held that while examining whether the rights of protection may be granted, it should be determined whether a sign could serve as a trademark at all. Only after it was decided that a sign could be a trademark, one should examine whether a mark is sufficiently distinctive and therefore to check whether the sign is suitable for distinguishing the specific goods in trade, to designate of which it has been applied for. The lack of distinctive character of a trade mark is considered as the absolute grounds for refusal to trade mark registration, but a sign may acquire distinctive character as a result of use.

The Court found it difficult to say that red color combined with different kinds of equipment and tools, or accessories used in construction is something extraordinary, unique and unprecedented, which could stick decisively in the memory and let the consumer individualize the goods in the market among the goods of the same type but originating from different companies. This judgment concerned separate Color RED Pantone C32, IR-803195.