January 2018. The logo used by Coffee Rocks is too similar to that of coffee giant Starbucks and has therefore been refused a registration. This follows a ruling by the EU’s General Court on 16 January in response to an appeal by Starbucks.

Initial defeat for Starbucks

In 2016 the Board of Appeal of the European Trademark Office EUIPO initially concluded that the Coffee Rocks logo, which a Belgian woman had applied to register, was sufficiently different from the Starbucks trademark because it featured the word ‘Rocks’.

Risk of confusion

The European General Court has now overturned that decision, stating that the two trademarks are similar enough to pose a risk of confusion. According to the Court, both make the same overall impression in that they both consist of similar circles in which word and image elements are identically positioned. The presence of the word ‘Coffee’, despite being generic, further adds to this similarity, the Court ruled.

Starbucks based its appeal on a total of 11 older trademark registrations of variants of the logo.
Bas Kist