„THE NORTH FACE" vs. „THE DOG FACE"
A Swiss company sells functional clothing for dogs under the name "The Dog Face". The applicant and owner of the trademark "The North Face" send a warning note to the owner of the trademark "The Dog Face" already in February without success. Also, a request for a preliminary injunction was rejected by the District Court in Frankfurt.
In the decision 6 W 32/22 the 6th civil senate of the Supreme Court in Frankfurt has now decided that the similarity of signs between the challenged sign "THE DOG FACE" and the injunction mark "THE NORTH FACE" is not sufficiently high, such that a likelihood of confusion would exist.
Furthermore, however, it was decided that in view of the fact that the injunction mark has a considerable reputation, the public will, however, mentally link the signs despite the recognizably different meaning of "DOG" and "NORTH"; since there is a certain similarity of goods between the outdoor clothing marketed under the injunction mark and the animal clothing marketed under the challenged sign.
Thus, the manufacturer of animal clothing was prohibited in expedited proceedings from marketing its products under the designation "The Dog Face". As an explanation, the court stated that the relevant public could assume that the owner of the trademark "The North Face" had also included functional clothing for dogs in its range under the designation in question.