September 2017. KBO and PCOB, two organisations representing older people in the Netherlands, have been told they can’t publish a joint magazine called WijSr (WeSr) because it infringes the trademark rights of publisher Wij Special Media (WSM), which releases a large number of magazines under the name WIJ (We). The ruling was issued by the District Court in Utrecht on 30 August.
The Court dismissed the claim by the two organisations that the WIJ trademark lacked distinctive character, concluding that it had been examined and accepted by the Benelux Trademark Office and was not wholly descriptive with regard to magazines. Moreover, the widespread use of the WIJ publications meant the brand was universally recognised.
The Court maintained that while it was true consumers would not immediately confuse WIJ and WijSr, there was a risk they would think the magazine was one of WSM’s publications, creating an indirect risk of confusion.