The District Court in The Hague in the Netherlands has handed a partial victory to Porsche in a case brought by the German automaker against an unnamed individual over the trademark for “P@RSCHE.” The lawsuit, which centers on a number of trademarks registered with the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (“BOIP”) for “P@RSCHE” in connection with goods and services in class 9, 12, 28 and 42, including vehicles, electrical and scientific apparatus, toys and sporting goods, and scientific and technological services.
Porsche filed suit with the District Court in The Hague in an attempt to invalidate the registration of the Benelux P@RSCHE trademarks. Porsche also asked to court to award it injunctive relief, which would legally prohibit the defendant from filing, registering and/or using the P@RSCHE mark.
According to Porsche’s filings, the P@RSCHE trademarks – which were registered in bad faith by the defendant – are similar to its own trademarks and are registered for identical and/or similar goods and services; such similarity, according to Porsche, would lead to confusion in the minds of consumers. In addition, the automaker – which is famous for its 911, Spyder, and Carrera models, among others – asserted that the use of the P@RSCHE mark by the defendant is for the sole purpose of taking unfair advantage of the established reputation that Porsche maintains and will prove detrimental to the distinctive character or the repute of its existing Porsche trademarks.
In a court filing of its own, the defendant denied that its P@RSCHE mark is confusingly similar to Porsche’s trademarks, stating that: (i) the Porsche trademark is a figurative mark; (ii) the P@RSCHE trademark has not yet been used in commerce; and (iii) no oral, visual or conceptual similarity exists between the marks.
Late last month, the court rejected all three of the defendant’s arguments and granted Porsche’s request to invalidate the P@RSCHE trademarks. In less favorable terms, the court denied Porsche’s request for an injunction, holding that Porsche had failed to demonstrate that the P@RSCHE trademarks pose a threat of infringement. The possibility that the defendant may use the P@RSCHE trademark in commerce is not sufficient for the granting of an injunction, according to the court. Moreover, the court denied Porsche’s request damages to the tune of €75,000 ($79,233).