ECJ: Infringement of a Union trademark by an emblem holder on a spare part

The owner of a European Union trademark has the right to prohibit the use of a sign that is identical or similar to the trademark. In a ruling, the ECJ has now determined that this also applies to a spare part that contains an element intended for the attachment of an emblem of the trademark and also meets the above condition.

A manufacturer of spare parts for automobiles of well-known manufacturers has offered radiator grilles which have an emblem holder for arranging an emblem of a European Union trademark. The emblem holder has an outer contour which is clearly modelled on the outer contour of the protected mark, so that it is easy for traffic to recognize which mark the emblem holder is intended for.

In its ruling, the ECJ made it clear that simply offering such a radiator grille can constitute use of the trademark. In its reasoning, the Court explains that the emblem holder, which is based on the contour of the protected sign, is visible to the public who wants to buy such a spare part. This could create a factual link between the spare part in question and the owner of the EU trademark. Accordingly, such use can impair the functions of the trademark.

Go back