Sevenhill didn’t only apply for the logo for all kinds of sweets but also for coffee, of all things. That must have been an extra trigger for Starbucks. During the opposition procedure, the coffee giant relied on the great reputation of the (old) Starbucks logo. EUIPO generously agreed. Even though the old Starbucks logo was last used years ago, it still has an excellent reputation for coffee, according to EUIPO.
And trademark law gives brands with a reputation ample protection. If you can show that the general public will establish a link with another trademark, resulting in the trademark owner suffering some kind of damage, then there is already an infringement. The risk of confusion isn’t even necessary.
According to EUIPO, many consumers will make a “mental association” with the well-known Starbucks brand when they see the Chameleon trademark. So, with relatively little marketing efforts, Sevenhill could benefit from Starbucks’ reputation and boost sales of Chamelon products. That’s called “taking unfair advantage” or “free-riding” and is not allowed, whether the trademark is used for coffee or a related product like candy.
The moral of the story is, of course, that hooking up with well-known brands is very dangerous, even if the famous trademark hasn’t been used for years. Some reputations are indestructible.