RISK OF CONFUSION
The logo in question is a European registration in the name of the English company TdeltaS, and is registered for all kinds of food and drink products which Ahold uses the AH trademark for. Although the first letter in the logo is a triangle rather than an A, the shape of the logo is obviously very similar to AH. Confusion lurks.
However, EUIPO ruled against Ahold because the application for invalidity is based on the trademark registration AH, which belongs to Albert Heijn B.V., whilst Ahold launched the charge on behalf of another company, Ahold Delhaize Licensing Sarl. In this case, EUIPO was left with no choice but to strictly follow the rules and reject the claim, even though the two brands are very similar.
The verdict seems to indicate that the parties have been in negotiation for two years in search of a solution. It must have been a bitter pill for Ahold, when in 2019, the counterparty suddenly argued the claim had been initiated in the wrong name just as negotiations apparently broke down.
THE LONG STRAW
Incidentally, Ahold can still repair the case fairly simply by initiating new proceedings, this time in the name of Albert Heijn BV. I wouldn’t be surprised if they still win.
Photo credit: FaceMePLS on Visualhunt / CC BY