ZEBINIX confusable with ZEBEXIR

Dipl. Biotechnol. Vanessa Bockhorni

Dipl. Biotechnol. Vanessa Bockhorni

The trademark ZEBEXIR was applied for goods in class 03 which were identical to the goods of class 03 of an earlier Community Trademark Registration ZEBINIX. The Court of the European Union confirmed in the affirmative that there was a visual similarity as the average consumer attaches more importance to the first part of a word which is similar due to the common first part “ZEB. The end parts “INIX” and “EXIR”, which are visually different, were not sufficient to cancel out the impression of similarity created by the common first part. Both marks comprise three syllables, the first syllable “ZE” being identical and the second syllables “BI” and “BE” being very close in sound. The third syllables “XIR” and “NIX” only differed with regard to the “R” and the “N”, the remaining letters “I” and “X” are identical and the vowel “I” is arranged in the middle of both syllables. Therefore, there is also a high degree of phonetic similarity of the two marks. A conceptual similarity could not be detected as neither ZEBEXIR nor ZEBINIX had any meaning.

Due to the above-mentioned visual and phonetic similarities, a danger of confusion of the two marks was affirmed.

Conclusion: A decision which can be judged in one way or another. It does, however, also surprisingly strongly emphasize the significance of the first part, especially since the common first part of the two marks “ZEB” cannot be separated; this is only the case with “ZE”.

Author: Dipl. Biotechnol. Vanessa Bockhorni (Patent Attorney), Update 1/2013
Patent Attorneys and Lawyers Bockhorni & Kollegen
Munich/ Germany

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