Paris High Court - Mr X... and FRANCE TRADING v/ PARIS WEAR DIFFUSION
Paris Hight Court
Mr X... and FRANCE TRADING v/ PARIS WEAR DIFFUSION
The French High Court (Commercial Chamber of the Court of Cassation) confirmed in its recent decision of January 6, 2015, the Paris Court of Appeal’s decision cancelling numerous French Trademark “I Paris” or “j Paris” for diverse goods in Classes 9, 14, 16, 18, 24, 25, 28, 34.
In its decision, the Court reiterated the general principle that in order to be distinctive, a sign, even if it is not necessary, usual, descriptive or generic, must indicate for the relevant public that the goods originate from a particular undertaking. Therefore, with respect to the relevant public, tourists buying souvenirs to document their trip to Paris, the Court considered that the signs in questions would be perceived as decorative elements, simply conveying a message of attachment to a particular city.
This decision underscores the principal function of a trademark, namely to identify the origin of the goods/services. A common expression, such as “I love Paris”, even in the semi-figurative form “I ...”, which has been extensively and widely used in commerce in tourist destination cities all around the world, cannot serve as an indicator of origin and therefore cannot be monopolized by one certain undertaking.
Luckily, therefore, the right to Paris remains available to everyone.