December 2019. Not everyone will know this, but the word Jacuzzi is a protected trademark. Despite the fact that it’s often used as a generic name for a hot tub, the US company Jacuzzi Inc. still owns the trademark rights to it, including in Europe. Jacuzzi recently challenged an application to register a new European trademark for the word Jazzi, also for hot tubs.

No infringement

There’s little doubt the company behind Jazzi was trying to freeload on the famous Jacuzzi name, yet the Opposition Division of the European Union Intellectual Property Office EUIPO concluded that Jazzi was no trademark infringement.

Generic name

A key factor in the ruling is that Jacuzzi, as a commonly used generic name, has little distinctive capacity and consequently enjoys only limited trademark protection. But even if you were to assume, as Jacuzzi claims, that the Jacuzzi trademark has gained substantial acquired distinctiveness through frequent use, there’s still no risk of confusion, EUIPO said, given that the syllable ‘cu’ makes the length and pronunciation of the word ‘Jacuzzi’ sufficiently different from the word ‘Jazzi’.

Bas Kist

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