Our news on intellectual property

No confusion between SMAC and LISSMAC

In Switzerland, no less than four official languages are spoken – French, German, Italian and Romansh. A trademark must therefore be distinctive in all those languages. This was illustrated in a decision issued by the Federal Administrative Court on 25 February 2020 (B-2191/2018). For Italian speaking customers, the sign SMAC refers to the term “smacchiare » which means “remove stains”. In relation to cleaning products, it is descriptive of the purpose of said goods. Even though it is fully reproduced in the sign LISSMAC, there is no risk of confusion. The opposition was rejected. Another example that it is always better to adopt a fanciful or arbitrary name. Indeed, purpose of a trademark is not to get a registration certificate but to secure strong rights to defend against copies.

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