On 29 October 2015, OHIM’s Opposition Division of the Office dismissed Bayer’s opposition against registration of the mark SALOSPIR & Design (No. 012351458).
Bayer opposed Uni-Pharma SA’s application for the mark SALOSPIR & Design for pharmaceutical preparations in Class 5 based on three prior national registrations of ASPIRIN (with and without designs).
In dismissing the opposition, the Opposition Division, assuming that the earlier marks have a reputation for pharmaceuticals and related products, found that, although the marks are similar to a certain extent (in particular taking into account that they all include the letters “S-P-I-R”), they had significant differences and, because of these differences, the public was unlikely to make a mental connection between the marks in dispute. In particular, the Opposition Division stressed that the marks differed in their initial letters, on which consumers tend to focus, and also in their figurative elements.
Further, these colors in the marks are of limited distinctiveness because they are either functional (white) or commonly used in the relevant field (green), so that they have extremely low distinctive character in connection with pharmaceuticals and, therefore, no likelihood of confusion or dilution could be established.