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4 April 2019Medtech

EU court rejects Medrobotics TM appeal

Massachusetts-based  Medrobotics has failed to convince the EU General Court that its trademark for ‘See More. Reach More. Treat More.’ should be registered.

Yesterday, April 3, the General Court  rejected Medrobotics appeal against a European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) decision to reject the trademark application because it was devoid of any distinctive character.

Medrobotics, a maker of robotic surgical products, applied to register the trademark in September 2017, covering class 10 goods such as surgical devices for diagnostic and surgical use and articulated arms for medical diagnostic and surgical use.

In January the following year, the EUIPO examiner rejected the application for registration, a decision Medrobotics appealed against.

The EUIPO’s Second Board of Appeal dismissed the appeal in July 2018, after finding that there was nothing about the mark that might, beyond its promotional meaning, enable the public to easily and instantly memorise it as distinctive trademark for the goods covered.

Medrobotics again appealed against the decision, but its appeal was rejected by the General Court which found that the trademark was an “ordinary advertising message that was not likely to trigger a cognitive process in the minds of the public concerned”.

In its appeal, Medrobotics put forward a single plea, alleging that the trademark has distinctive character.

The Massachusetts-based company argued that as the relevant public was made up of specialists in the health sector, it would display a very high level of attention.

However, citing case law, the Second Board of Appeal had found that the level of attention of the relevant public may be relatively low when it comes to promotional indications, even where the public was made up of specialists.

The General Court sided with the EUIPO and found that the board didn’t commit any error of assessment in finding that the relevant public’s level of attention would be relatively low.

Medrobotics also argued that the “unusual and incorrect structure of the sentences” which made up the trademark would prevent the public from understanding the precise meaning of the mark.

“Contrary to what is claimed by the applicant, the fact that the groups of words making up the mark applied for include only a verb and an adverb does not prevent the relevant public from immediately understanding the meaning,” concluded the court.

Finally, Medrobotics argued that the trademark was only weakly connected with the goods covered and conveyed a promotional message only subliminally and suggestively.

The court said: “Moreover, although the applicant relies on the originality of the mark applied for, it fails to state in what way the mark is sufficiently original to be classified as distinctive.”

Medrobotics appeal was dismissed and the court ordered the company to pay the costs of the appeal.

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