An earlier European Union IP Office ruling that had gone against Apple was today annulled by The EU General Court. The case overturns the 2016 decision that Apple’s trademarks were not infringed upon by Apo International.
Apo International – a Taiwan-based projector lamp supplier – applied in 2012 to EUIPO to register half an apple symbol alongside the lower case word ‘apo’. Apo’s registration mark would be used for goods – including projectors, laboratory lamps, and advertising.
Apple filed opposition based on three of its earlier marks, including the Apple logo and two-word marks for ‘Apple’, the following year. Although The EUIPO agreed that the goods and services at issue were identical, they ruled that there was no likelihood of confusion. EUIPO’s Fourth Board of Appeal also dismissed an appeal made by Apple on similar grounds.
But the General Court upheld Apple’s argument, and Apo’s designs are not the same shape as the applied-for mark, and that the figurative element of the applied-for mark would be seen as a stylistic rendering of part of an apple. The General Court also pointed out a phonetic similarity between the two marks at issue. The 2016 decision was then annulled, and the EUIPO ordered to pay the costs.