Very limited protection of descriptive trademarks

On 8 May 2015 the Danish Maritime and Com-mercial High Court passed a judgment in a trademark case between Evonik Degussa GmbH, the owner of the trademark PROCTECTOSIL and also one of the leading speciality chemical com-panies in the world, and Protectos A/S, a small Danish company specialising in impregnation and surface protection of brickwork and the re-moval of graffiti.

Despite the trademark PROTECTOS being com-pletely included in the trademark PROTECTOSIL, the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court found that there was a low degree of similarity between the two trademarks. In its assessment the Court took into account that the endings "OS" and "OSIL" are both auditorily and visually far from each other and that the two companies could not be deemed to be competing with each other, just as their products and services were not of a similar type and their customers were very different as well. Moreover there was no basis for assuming that the trademark PROTECTOSIL has become so well-known in this line of business that the trademark PROTECTOSIL is subject to extended protection.

Against such background and following an over-all evaluation the Court found that there is no risk of confusing the trademarks PROTECTOSIL and PROTECTOS. As a consequence, Protectos's word mark, company name and domain name did not infringe Evonik's trademark rights.

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