Mario Valentino S.p.A. v. For The People Group Inc.

Mario Valentino S.p.A.


Considering the various items of evidence provided, genuine use of the earlier CTM is established only for goods made of leather and not included in other classes; bags, handbags, purses, wallets in Class 18 and footwear, belts in Class 25. The submitted documents include invoices dated from 2003-2008 for bags, handbags, purses, wallets, footwear, belts and gloves issued by an opponents licensee to companies in various EU Member States. Various handbag catalogues, and samples of a leather insole and a fabric label bearing the mark have also been provided. There are also sales figures and turnover results from the year 2003 right through to 2008 from a licensee company, as well advertisements from magazines for handbags and shoes bearing the trade mark and finally several affidavits signed by various companies as evidence of purchase of products bearing the trade mark. As to the assessment of LOC, the common word element VALENTINO renders the two marks visually and aurally similar to a medium degree. Conceptually, the signs have no semantic content as both are persons names; one just a name and the other the same name and a surname. Taking into account the average distinctive character of the earlier mark, and since consumers tend to focus on the first part of a mark which is usually the one that first catches the attention of the reader, the relevant consumer of the identical or similar goods in Classes 25 and 26 will not be in a position to safely distinguish between the marks. The appeal is dismissed.

Comparison of Trademarks