According to EUIPO, there are several indications of the Rotterdam company’s bad faith. For example, Electro-Cirkel filed the trademark LEDNIFY only 3 days after Signify first announced its new name during the international Light + Building Fair in Frankfurt. According to EUIPO, it is almost impossible that Electro-Cirkel was not aware of this. Not only is Electro-Cirkel a direct Dutch competitor of Signify, but the company itself also had a booth at the Frankfurt fair. Yes but our booth was located in a separate hall, Electro-Cirkel tried in vain.
The fact that after being sued by Signify in 2021, the Electro-Cirkel still tried to sell the name to Signify for a substantial amount of money also weighed in the verdict on the company’s bad faith.
Electro-Cirkel’s argument that Signify and LEDNIFY are not actually similar and that LEDNIFY is inspired by brands such as Spotify and Shopify, also did not find favour with EUIPO. The latter brands lack precisely that distinctive N that brings Signify and LEDNIFY closer together. The public will associate the brands with each other and can easily think that LEDNIFY is a sub-brand of Signify.
It does seem like a reasonable statement to me. Surely everything – and especially that trademark filing 3 days after the Signify name was announced – points to malicious intent. That includes that crucial N. Had they made it LEDIFY, it is very questionable whether Signify would have won as well. That IFY ending has been rather fashionable and widely used in recent years. In the European trademark register I see almost 1500 registrations.