Our client, UK distiller and beverage producer, Fishers Gin, faced a potentially damaging opposition from rival gin brand KOVAL, on the basis there was a visual similarity between the design of the bottle labels of both brands.
Fishers Gin’s label had been produced using a particular printing method, resulting in a striking design. KOVAL’s label – while equally elaborate – was different.
We worked with the client to put forward a compelling case that Fisher’s Gin bore no resemblance to ‘KOVAL’ and there was actually no similarity between the two marks.
Despite the opposition’s claim of similarity between the labels, the EUIPO Opposition Division and the Board of Appeal ruled they were dissimilar, stating that the dominant and distinctive feature was the brand name.
Losing this case would have had a serious commercial impact on Fishers Gin, in what is a highly competitive and constantly evolving market. The ruling meant our client could continue to use its distinctive label uninterrupted, which had become a recognised and integral part of its brand.
It also served as a compelling example of a case where the marks being compared are complex as a result of a variety of visual elements in labels, typical of those used for the branding of alcoholic beverages.
Ultimately, the decision reaffirmed the principle that “words speak louder than devices” in the perception of the average consumer.