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Chanel Loses European Court Fight In Trademark Dispute With Huawei

Chanel handbag. Shutterstock.

French luxury house Chanel on Wednesday lost its trademark fight with Huawei Technologies after a top European court said their logos bear no similarity to each other.

The trademark spat underlines how luxury brands jealously guard their signature logos and trademarks that often symbolise luxury, style and exclusivity to millions of people worldwide.

The dispute dated to 2017 when Huawei sought approval from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), a trademark body, to register its computer hardware trademark which has two vertical interlocking semi-circles.

Privately owned Chanel objected, saying that the design was similar to its registered French logo of two horizontal interlocking semi-circles used for its perfumes, cosmetics, costume jewellery, leather goods and clothing.

In 2019, the trademark office dismissed Chanel’s objection, saying there was no similarity and no likelihood of confusion in the mind of the public.

The French luxury house subsequently challenged the ruling at the Luxembourg-based General Court, which dismissed the appeal in its ruling on Wednesday.

“The figurative marks at issue are not similar. The marks must be compared as applied for and registered, without altering their orientation,” the tribunal of judges said.

The tribunal said the visual differences in the two logos were significant.

“In particular, Chanel’s marks have more rounded curves, thicker lines and a horizontal orientation, whereas the orientation of the Huawei mark is vertical. Consequently, the General Court concludes that the marks are different,” it said.

The ruling can be appealed to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s highest.

The case is T-44/20 Chanel v EUIPO - Huawei Technologies.

By Foo Yun Chee; Editor: Edmund Blair

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