Our client, a local manufacturing company, had developed and started using a range of brands without taking professional advice. Recognising the need to safeguard their position, they instructed us to register their trade marks throughout Europe.
Applications for trade mark registration were filed using the EU's Community Trademark system. Most of the applications went through without any difficulties. In one case, however, an objection was raised by a large multinational, based on alleged similarity between one of their trade marks and our client's trade mark.
Our assessment of the situation suggested that our client would have a good chance of winning the dispute, but it was clear that the business fields in which the two companies were active were quite distinct and the likelihood of any real confusion occurring in the marketplace was small. We therefore suggested that the best approach would be to negotiate with the other company. Our client agreed, and we were able to reach an agreement under which both parties undertook to restrict their activities to defined areas and not to object to each other's use of their trademarks. We amended the range of goods covered by our client's trade mark in a way that differentiated it from the other company's trade mark but which still gave effective protection to our client's activities, and the application went through to registration with no further problems.