Trade mark law, case II GSK 986/08

August 31st, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 3 June 2009 case file II GSK 986/08 held that the provisions of Article 132(2)(ii) of the IPL does not refer only to the so-called direct risk, that is a situation where the similarity of the opposing trade marks is so close that the consumer may be easily confused but also a situation of the so-called indirect risk, which is based on the fact that the potential customer may mistakenly associate both trade marks.

2. A right of protection for a trademark shall not be granted, if the trademark:
(ii) is identical or similar to a trademark for which a right of protection was granted or which has been applied for protection with an earlier priority date (provided that the latter is subsequently granted a right of protection) on behalf of another party for identical or similar goods, if a risk of misleading the public exists, in particular by evoking associations with the earlier mark.

The risk of confusion as referred to in that provision of the IPL, includes therefore the likelihood of customer confusion as to the origin of the goods in the strict sense, as well as the risk of confusion as to the relationship of sources of origin of goods bearing the opposed trade marks. This is simply a situation where the average customer, following the association between two marks, may assume that a company using a similar trade mark as the owner of a prioro right , is in economiclegal or organizational relationships, that are essential for the manufacture, marking, and the introduction of a product to the market. This case concerned a decision on definitive refusal to recognize the protection of Tim IR-0809911 trade mark.