Paris 1st Instance Court - FLEX - ELEKTROWERKZEUGE v/ LEROY MERLIN & al
Paris 1st Instance Court
FLEX - ELEKTROWERKZEUGE c/ LEROY MERLIN FRANCE et GROUPE ADEO
The companies LEROY MERLIN FRANCE and GROUPE ADEO were represented by Arnaud CASALONGA, Lawyer. The decision revokes the trademark GIRAFE which was cited against LEROY MERLIN and rejects any infringement.
The owner of the French Trademark GIRAFE and the Community Trademark GIRAFFE, designating grinding tools in classes 7 and 8, charged LEROY MERLIN FRANCE and GROUPE ADEO trademark infringement by the use of the term GIRAFE in order to identify sanders with a long articulated arm.
The Court found, first of all, that the French trademark was devoid of distinctive character at the time of its filing, as the term GIRAFFE, associated with a sander, was already used by building professionals and in the do-it-yourself sector to designate the characteristics of such tools.
The Court took into consideration a dictionary specialized in the building sector containing the term GIRAFE in the same application.
Therefore, the trademark is canceled and the infringement claim is rejected.
The Court nevertheless validated the Community trademark GIRAFFE (with two F) due to its different spelling, considering that it was not the same sign.
The Court notes that the applicant is German, and that the term GIRAFFE in this language has a different meaning than in French, thus giving it a sufficiently distinctive character.
Although the trademark has been recognized as valid, the Court rejected any infringement.
It notes that the term GIRAFFE has not been used by LEROY MERLIN FRANCE and GROUPE ADEO as a trademark to designate the products, but in a descriptive way of the sanders’ characteristics, in combination with the trademark REDSTONE owned by GROUPE ADEO.
The Court concluded that there was no likelihood of confusion on the origin of goods.
The judgment has not been appealed and is definitive.