September 2019. At the beginning of this year, the Spanish company Paredes applied to register a black stripe on a sports shoe as a European trademark. Nothing wrong there, you might think; just a distinguishing mark of the kind placed on many such shoes. Or is there?

Paredes’ new EU trademark application

 V on its side

According to footwear and clothing company Vans, there certainly is something to object to, in that it claims the black stripe is too much like the V in its own logo. At the beginning of August, it filed an opposition against Paredes’ application to register the new trademark. Admittedly, the logo does slightly resemble the Vans V, but on its side. So it wouldn’t come as any surprise if Vans won the day.

Not only has Vans registered the entire logo as a trademark but also the V on its own

 V registered on its own

The trademark register shows that as well as registering the entire logo as a European trademark, Vans has also registered the design of the V on its own. A clever move which presumably gives it all the ammunition it needs to overturn this new trademark registration.

Bas Kist