Lastminute wins European Court appeal

Lastminute has won an appeal to have a rival company’s European trademark cancelled in the European Court of First Instance.

The retailer had objected to the European trademark registration of Last Minute Tour, arguing its UK trademark rights were infringed and that it had been refused registration for the same term in 2000 because it was ambiguous.

The Court of First Instance disagreed with an earlier ruling by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), which considered the likely confusion among consumers and decided the two companies have different audiences.

Lawyers for lastminute argued that trade marks, even those comprised of generic terms, help build a reputation and said the OHIM had considered its trademark outside its context.

The CFI agreed the earlier decision had been flawed. It decided the term “last minute” could have a reputation despite its generic nature and said the OHIM judgement had wrongly identified the consumer group whose perception should be taken into account.

Ian McCaig, chief executive, said: “We are delighted with the outcome as it has acknowledged the strength and considerable reputation of the brand.”

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