Date: 19 December 2019
A recent case decided by the General Court (United Wineries v EUIPO; T-779/17) has confirmed that proof of genuine use does not have to consist of different types of evidence.
A EUTM application for the word mark VIÑA ALARDE covering “alcoholic beverages (except beers)” made by the Spanish company United Wineries was successfully opposed on the grounds that there was likelihood of confusion with the earlier Spanish word mark ALARDE owned by the Spanish company Compañía de Vinos Miguel Martin and registered for identical goods in Class 33.
Fig.1 - the applicant's label
The applicant had requested proof of genuine use, and Compañía de Vinos Miguel Martín produced evidence of the sale of 1,200 bottles of wine bearing the ALARDE brand for a total amount of EUR 4,200 and other small transactions. The EUIPO’s Opposition Division and Board of Appeal found the proof of genuine use was sufficient and upheld the opposition.
The General Court found that it was possible to prove genuine use by way of invoices only, provided that they contained all the relevant information, notably the place, time, extent and nature of use.
This decision is notable as it confirms that even a small volume of products marketed can be considered sufficient to prove actual commercial activity.
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