August 2017. Leading French champagne house Moët & Chandon has failed to stop wine-maker Prinz zur Lippe registering its Poet drinks brand as a trademark. On 31 July, the Opposition division of the European Trademark Office EUIPO ruled that the Poet device mark didn’t infringe Moët & Chandon’s rights.
Different first letter
The French company’s opposition was based on its European registration of the word Moët. But EUIPO concluded that there was insufficient similarity between Moët and Poet. Not just because they each used a different first letter, which is of ‘considerable importance’ according to EUIPO, but also due to the absence of a diaresis over the e, the Poet logo and the different meaning of the words ‘Moët’ and ‘Poet’: the first will be perceived as a surname and the other as someone who writes poems.
The French also tried to bring Moët & Chandon’s global reputation into play, claiming it would be damaged by the new brand. But EUIPO was adamant on this point too, ruling that the two brands weren’t similar enough. In the face of that, a strong reputation doesn’t help you much.
Differences with Facebook
It’s a very different outcome to the dispute between Facebook and Life Book, which we also cover this week (read more). Although in our opinion the difference between Facebook and Life Book is greater than that between Moët and Poet, Facebook nevertheless managed to put paid to the Life Book registration. There’s no doubt this is because Facebook’s reputation is many times greater than Moët’s.