EQIPD | Decision 2705229

OPPOSITION No B 2 705 229

Vermop Salmon GmbH, Zeppelinstr. 24, 82205 Gilching, Germany (opponent), represented by Hoffmann · Eitle Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB, Arabellastr. 30, 81925 Munich, Germany (professional representative)

a g a i n s t

RengøringsLageret, Tinghøjvej 3, 9670 Løgstør, Denmark (applicant).

On 21/06/2017, the Opposition Division takes the following


1.        Opposition No B 2 705 229 is partially upheld, namely for the following contested goods:

Class 3: Window cleaning compositions.

Class 21: Cleaning articles.

2.        European Union trade mark application No 12 704 151 is rejected for all the above goods. It may proceed for the remaining services.

3.        Each party bears its own costs.


The opponent filed an opposition against all the goods and services of European Union trade mark application No 15 301 781. The opposition is based on European Union trade mark registration No 12 882 544.The opponent invoked Article 8(1)(b) EUTMR.


A likelihood of confusion exists if there is a risk that the public might believe that the goods or services in question, under the assumption that they bear the marks in question, come from the same undertaking or, as the case may be, from economically linked undertakings. Whether a likelihood of confusion exists depends on the appreciation in a global assessment of several factors, which are interdependent. These factors include the similarity of the signs, the similarity of the goods and services, the distinctiveness of the earlier mark, the distinctive and dominant elements of the conflicting signs and the relevant public.

  1. The goods and services

The goods on which the opposition is based are the following:

Class 6: Aluminium handles, in particular being handle extensions for hand-operated window, wall, ceiling and floor squeegees.

Class 12: Transport, work, cleaning, disinfection, laundry, paper and waste trolleys, in particular for cleaning buildings and for hospitals, industry, hotels and the like, and parts and fittings for the aforesaid goods, included in Class 12. 

Class 21: Small hand-operated devices for household and kitchen use; Household or kitchen utensils and containers (not of precious metals or coated therewith); Spray bottles and spray cans of plastic and/or metal for cleaning preparations, Parts and accessories for the aforesaid goods; Hand-operated implements and containers of plastic and/or metal (not of precious metal or coated therewith) for cleaning buildings; Hand-operated apparatus and containers for cleaning buildings; Cleaning instruments, hand-operated; Manual floor cleaning apparatus and containers, and parts and fittings therefor, in particular mops; Mop holders, mop covers, mop presses, dosing containers for moistening manual floor-cleaning apparatus, including the aforesaid goods being accessories for manual floor-cleaning apparatus such as mops; Brooms, scrubbing brushes, hand brushes, brushes, articles for cleaning purposes, toilet accessories, consisting of brushes and stands; Scrubbers, feather dusters, radiator cleaning apparatus, window wiping and cleaning apparatus, water squeegees, floor and window scrapers; Wiping cloths; Parts of the aforesaid goods.

The contested goods and services are the following:

Class 3: Window cleaning compositions.

Class 21: Cleaning articles.

Class 35: Wholesale services in relation to cleaning preparations

As a preliminary remark, it is to be noted that according to Article 28(7) EUTMR, goods or services are not regarded as being similar or dissimilar to each other on the ground that they appear in the same or different classes under the Nice Classification.

The relevant factors relating to the comparison of the goods or services include, inter alia, the nature and purpose of the goods or services, the distribution channels, the sales outlets, the producers, the method of use and whether they are in competition with each other or complementary to each other.

Contested goods in Class 3

The contested window cleaning compositions are highly similar to the opponent’s cleaning instruments, hand-operated in Class 21. The contested goods in Class 3 are chemical agents and preparations for cleaning and maintaining windows, whereas the opponent’s goods are articles for cleaning purposes. The goods at issue have the same purpose and target the same public. They are available in the same sections of stores and may be produced by the same undertakings. Furthermore, they are complementary to the extent that one usually needs an implement to apply the cleaning/maintaining preparations.

Contested goods in Class 21

The contested cleaning articles include, as a broader category, the opponent’s scrubbers. Since the Opposition Division cannot dissect ex officio the broad category of the contested goods, they are considered identical to the opponent’s goods.

Contested services in Class 35

Retail services concerning the sale of particular goods are similar (to a low degree) to these particular goods (05/05/2015, T-715/13, Castello (fig.) / Castelló y Juan S.A. (fig.) et al., EU:T:2015:256, § 33). Although the nature, purpose and method of use of these goods and services are not the same, they have similarities, as they are complementary and the services are generally offered in the same places as those where the goods are offered for sale. Furthermore, they target the same public. This applies by analogy to all other means of sale, such as wholesale services [in relation to cleaning preparations].

Wholesale services in relation to cleaning preparations are not similar to the opponent’s goods in Classes 6, 12 and 21 (which include cleaning instruments and implements but not cleaning preparations, as those belong in Class 3). Apart from being different in nature, since services are intangible whereas goods are tangible, they serve different needs. Retail services consist in bringing together, and offering for sale, a wide variety of different products, thus allowing consumers to conveniently satisfy different shopping needs at one stop. This is not the purpose of goods. Furthermore, goods and services have different methods of use and are neither in competition nor complementary.

Similarity between retail services of specific goods covered by one mark and specific goods covered by another mark can only be found where the goods involved in the retail services and the specific goods covered by the other mark are identical. This condition is not fulfilled in the present case since the goods at issue are not identical.

  1. Relevant public — degree of attention

The average consumer of the category of products concerned is deemed to be reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect. It should also be borne in mind that the average consumer’s degree of attention is likely to vary according to the category of goods or services in question.

In the present case, the goods found to be identical or highly similar are directed at the public at large whose degree of attention will be average.

  1. The signs



Earlier trade mark

Contested sign

The relevant territory is the European Union.

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).

The unitary character of the European Union trade mark means that an earlier European Union trade mark can be relied on in opposition proceedings against any application for registration of a European Union trade mark that would adversely affect the protection of the first mark, even if only in relation to the perception of consumers in part of the European Union (18/09/2008, C-514/06 P, Armafoam, EU:C:2008:511, § 57). This applies by analogy to international registrations designating the European Union. Therefore, a likelihood of confusion for only part of the relevant public of the European Union is sufficient to reject the contested application.

In the present case, the Opposition Division finds it appropriate to focus the comparison of the signs on the part of the territory in which the word ‘EQUIPE’ has no meaning, such as the Slovakian-, Polish- and Hungarian-speaking parts of the public.

As both signs are meaningless from the perspective of the relevant public, they have an average degree of distinctiveness for all the goods at issue.

Visually, the signs coincide in the string of letters ‘EQ*IP*’. However, they differ in so far as the earlier trade mark contains the additional letter ‘U’ in the third position and the letter ‘E’ instead of the letter ‘D’ in the contested sign. As both marks are word marks, it is the word as such that is protected and not its written form. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether they are presented in upper or lower case letters, or in a combination thereof.

Therefore, the signs are visually similar to an average degree.

Aurally, in the relevant territory, the pronunciation of the signs coincides in the sound of the letters ‘/EQ*IP*/’, present identically in both signs. Moreover, the last vowel ‘E’ and the vowel ‘U’ of the earlier sign will not be pronounced. The most differentiating element is the last sound of the contested sign, ‘/D/’; however, this differing letter is unable to counteract the impact of the rest of the phonemes, which the signs have in common.

Bearing in mind the foregoing, it is considered that the signs are aurally similar to a high degree.

Conceptually, neither of the signs has a meaning for the public in the relevant territory. Since a conceptual comparison is not possible, the conceptual aspect does not influence the assessment of the similarity of the signs.

As the signs have been found similar in at least one aspect of the comparison, the examination of likelihood of confusion will proceed.

  1. 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 did not explicitly claim that its mark is particularly distinctive by virtue of intensive use or reputation.

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 and services in question from the perspective of the public in the relevant territory. Therefore, the distinctiveness of the earlier mark must be seen as average.

  1. Global assessment, other arguments and conclusion

Evaluating likelihood of confusion implies some interdependence between the relevant factors and, in particular, a similarity between the marks and between the goods or services. Therefore, a lesser degree of similarity between goods and services may be offset by a greater degree of similarity between the marks and vice versa (29/09/1998, C-39/97, Canon, EU:C:1998:442, § 17).

Account is taken of the fact that average consumers rarely have the chance to make a direct comparison between different marks, but must trust in their imperfect recollection of them (22/06/1999, C-342/97, Lloyd Schuhfabrik, EU:C:1999:323, § 26).

As concluded above, the contested goods are either identical or similar to a high degree, whereas the services are dissimilar. The signs in conflict are visually similar to an average degree and aurally highly similar, although they both lack any meaning that could differentiate them.

In the light of the foregoing, the degree of similarity between the signs at issue is sufficient for it to be considered that a substantial part of the relevant public could reasonably believe that the identical or highly similar goods bearing the sign ‘EQIPD’ come from the same undertaking as those bearing the earlier mark, ‘EQUIPE’, or from economically linked undertakings.

Considering all the above, there is a likelihood of confusion on the part of the Slovakian-, Hungarian- and Polish-speaking parts of the public. As stated above in section c) of this decision, a likelihood of confusion for only part of the relevant public of the European Union is sufficient to reject the contested application.

Therefore, the opposition is partly well founded on the basis of the opponent’s European Union trade mark registration No 12 882 544. It follows that the contested trade mark must be rejected for all the contested goods found to be identical or highly similar to those of the earlier mark.

The rest of the contested services are dissimilar. As similarity of goods and services is a necessary condition for the application of Article 8(1) EUTMR, the opposition based on this article and directed at these cannot be successful.


According to Article 85(1) EUTMR, the losing party in opposition proceedings must bear the fees and costs incurred by the other party. According to Article 85(2) EUTMR, where each party succeeds on some heads and fails on others, or if reasons of equity so dictate, the Opposition Division will decide a different apportionment of costs.

Since the opposition is successful only for part of the contested goods, both parties have succeeded on some heads and failed on others. Consequently, each party has to bear its own costs.

The Opposition Division




According to Article 59 EUTMR, any party adversely affected by this decision has a right to appeal against this decision. According to Article 60 EUTMR, notice of appeal must be filed in writing at the Office within two months of the date of notification of this decision. It must be filed in the language of the proceedings in which the decision subject to appeal was taken. Furthermore, a written statement of the grounds of appeal must be filed within four months of the same date. The notice of appeal will be deemed to be filed only when the appeal fee of EUR 720 has been paid.

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