Best-Lock (Europe) Ltd v/s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM)

The General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld on 16 June 2015 the decision of the Fourth Board of appeal of the OHIM and confirmed the validity of LEGO’s Community trademarks.

The applicant’s argument – that the contested trademark consists exclusively of the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result for the purposes of Article 7 (1) (e) (ii) of Regulation No 207/2009 – did not convince the General Court.

According to the three judges, the head, body, arms and legs which are necessary in order for the figure to have the shape of a human appearance constitute the essential characteristics of the contested trade mark. However, nothing proves that those particular elements serve any technical function. Even if one would assume that the shape of those elements may have a technical function, that of enabling them to be joined to other elements, those elements cannot be held to be the most important elements of that mark.

Finally, the General Court dismisses the applicant’s argument that the shape of the figure in question is, as a whole, necessary to obtain a particular technical result. The result of that shape is simply “to confer human traits on the figure in question”.

Olivier Laidebeur