Coty’s Manhattan Cosmetics has been handed a favorable ruling in Hungary. Earlier this year, Manhattan Cosmetics’ “MANHATTAN SUPERSIZE SEDUCTIVE EYES” trademark was shot down by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (“HIPO”), which held that the proposed mark is not fit for registration, as it appears to refer to the geographic origin of the makeup, and therefore, does not serve as a source-identifier.
The HIPO further held that the proposed trademark, which is the name of one of Manhattan Cosmetics’ mascara products is likely to confuse consumers into believing that the product is a “US-quality good,” when, in reality, it is made in Germany, where Manhattan Cosmetics is headquartered.
On the heels of the HIPO ruling, Manhattan Cosmetics, a brand under the Coty umbrella – along with the fragrance licenses for Calvin Klein, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, and Miu Miu – filed a request for review with the Metropolitan Tribunal, which annulled the HIPO decision. The Tribunal held that, although Manhattan is known as one of emblematic centers of the fashion world, it does not produce eye makeup that can be distinguished from eye makeup produced elsewhere, and thus, this factor is not enough to bar trademark registration. The Tribunal ordered the HIPO to perform a new examination, and after a renewed examination the HIPO has granted Hungary-specific trademark protection for the “MANHATTAN SUPERSIZE SEDUCTIVE EYES” mark.
The refusal of trademark applications due to the presence of geographic elements is a well-established practice, aimed at preventing consumer confusion as to the source of the goods. In the matter at hand, the Metropolitan Tribunal addressed this element, holding that the fact that neither the applicant’s nationality nor its headquarters are tied to Manhattan is not sufficient grounds to deny trademark protection absent any risk of consumer confusion.