A generic lion is non-distinctive even to specialised public
It all started in 2017, when Balmain tried to register two graphic trademarks depicting a lion’s head, surrounded by a ring-made chain, before EUIPO. EUIPO rejected the registration for goods in classes 14 (cufflinks and jewellery) and 26 (buttons, shoe press-studs) under the Nice Classification (link) on the absolute grounds that the trademarks were devoid of any distinctive character (Article 7, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph (b) of the Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Union trade mark). Balmain appealed to the EUIPO Board of Appeal, but the appeal was rejected with decisions R 1522/2018-5 and R 1224/2018-5.
Consequently, Balmain filed an appeal before the General Court. In their appeal, Balmain argued that their goods from classes 14 and 26 under the Nice Classification are purchased by professional and highly-specialised public whose degree of attention is higher than that of the general public, which is why a lower degree of distinctiveness of their trademarks’ signs should suffice for registration. The General Court, however, was of a different opinion and explained that the high degree of attention of specialised public cannot, by itself, affect the assessment of the trademark’s distinctive character. Since there is a plethora of jewellery, cufflinks and buttons depicting the head of a lion on the market, and since Balmain trademarks’ designs did not differ from them in any significant way, the General Court upheld the EUIPO Board of Appeal’s decision to refuse the registration of the trademarks.
On Friday 23 June 2023, a webinar entitled “Copyright and Legal Basis for Generative Artificial Intelligence Training” was held as the inaugural event of an informal research network in the region in the field of copyright. Researchers from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and North Macedonia participated in the event, which is part of the national Open Knowledge Day initiative and the national and regional coordination activities carried out by ODIPI under the auspices of Knowledge Rights 21.
Open Data and Intellectual Property Institute ODIPI is organising a webinar on the topic of text and data mining copyright exception, titled “Copyright-legal basis for training generative AI”, as part of the national and regional coordination of the Knowledge Rights 21 programme, led by Dr. Maja Bogataj Jančič.