In 2019 a Chinese company filed for European trademark protection for Chitanco, a new beer brand in Europe. Cervecería Modelo de México, the owner of Corona, filed an opposition because according to them the logo is too similar to their well-known Corona logo.
January 15’s ruling shows that the European Trademark Office EUIPO thinks there is a low degree of visual similarity between the two trademarks. Indeed, the font is somewhat similar, but according to EUIPO the most important part of the trademark, the word element ‘Chitanco’, does not resemble Corona at all. The question, therefore remains, will this confuse consumers?
However, EUIPO didn’t even get to the risk of confusion issue at all. The rule under trademark law is that well-known trademarks – brands with a reputation – are given very broad protection. Unlike a ‘normal’ trademark, a well-known trademark does not have to demonstrate a risk of confusion for trademark infringement. Showing that the consumer makes a connection, a link, with the well-known brand is proof enough.
TOP 100 BEST KNOWN BRANDS
EUIPO says it is impressed by the evidence submitted by Modelo to demonstrate the enormous reputation of the Corona trademark, including its’ specific font. For example, Corona appears in the top 100 of the world’s most valuable brands at both Forbes and Interbrand.
A PIECE OF THE ACTION
Despite the limited similarity between the two trademarks, according to EUIPO, the high level of recognition of Corona means that consumers may establish a link between Chitanco and Corona. Chitanco is unfairly trying to get in on a piece of the action of the huge investments made by the well-known trademark Corona and that is prohibited, even if there is no risk of confusion.
That’s the power of a well-known brand. If Corona had not been able to prove its fame, it remains to be seen whether it could have stopped the Chitanco logo in the capacity of a ‘normal’ brand.
This article was previously published on Adformatie.