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Golden Balls case sent back to OHIM

The Court of Justice of the EU has referred a seven-year long dispute over the Golden Balls trade mark back to the OHIM for reassessment

Golden Balls

The case started in 2007 when Gus and Inez Bodurs filed a CTM application for Golden Balls in classes 9, 28 and 41. Intra-Presse opposed the application based on its earlier mark Ballon d’Or.

The opposition division backed the Bodurs, finding there was no likelihood of confusion, but the OHIM First Board of Appeal overturned that finding as far as most of the goods and services were concerned.

However, the Board did not consider Intra-Presse’s argument about the reputation of its earlier mark under Article 8(5) of the CTM Regulation.

In 2013 the EU General Court reversed the Board of Appeal, finding in favour of the Bodurs in two related cases.

Those decisions have now been partially set aside by the CJEU, which criticised the General Court for not carrying out an overall assessment of the marks despite “the low degree of similarity between them”.

The Court also said that the Board of Appeal should rule “on each of the heads of claim submitted for its consideration” (including concerning reputation).

The parties were all ordered to pay their own costs.

Read the CJEU judgment dated November 20.

There is more analysis on the IP Kat blog, which has been a supporter of the Bodurs, and on Field Fisher’s IP blog.

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