December 2018. In October, Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn won an opposition in the Benelux against the registration of the trademark AH Hypotheken [AH Mortgages] by Alkmaar-based financial consultant Dooranja. Even though of course you won’t find a single mortgage on the shelves in any Albert Heijn store!
AH won its case due to the fact that some years ago, it registered the letter combination AH as a European trademark for a large number of products and services, including financial services.
Benefitting for five years
AH won’t of course be using its trademark for mortgages, but by taking out such a broad registration the company will gain cover for such services. It will be able to enjoy this protection for five years, since only after this time will it be obliged use the trademark for the products it has registered it for. It’s an effective strategy which allows the supermarket group to keep the register ‘clean’.