Once again, a decision (Case T‑395/12 of 11 February 2015) in which the General Court has clearly stated that the fact that an earlier mark might be considered to possess a weak distinctive character does not in principle exclude a risk of confusion.

Basically, the General Court found that there was a risk of confusion between the earlier SOLID FLOOR logo and the applied for SOLIDFLOOR THE PROFESSIONAL’S CHOICE logo , both for (try to guess…) building materials, floorings, etc. stating that “a finding that the earlier mark has weak distinctive character does not preclude a finding that there is a likelihood of confusion. Although the distinctive character of the earlier mark must be taken into account in assessing the likelihood of confusion, it is only one factor among others involved in that assessment. Consequently, even in a case involving an earlier mark with a weak distinctive character, there may be a likelihood of confusion on account, in particular, of a similarity between the signs and between the goods or services covered (see judgment in PAGESJAUNES.COM, paragraph 32 above, EU:T:2007:387, paragraph 70 and the case-law cited)”.

Tips for users and trademarks’ owners? Well, do not choose a weak mark thinking that you can easily coexist with other weak marks: minor differences do not put you in a safe position.

Editor’s note: sorry for that, but does really make sense to defend a very descriptive mark up to the General Court?