Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Court of Justice of the EU confirms that Andorra cannot be a trademark

Written by Eric Apim on Thursday, February 24th 2022 à 15:14 | Read 897 times

The government of Andorra is dismissed and will not be able to register the trademark Andorra (photo: Visit Andorra)
The government of Andorra is dismissed and will not be able to register the trademark Andorra (photo: Visit Andorra)
ANDORRA. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on Wednesday 23 February 2022 rejected the Principality of Andorra's appeal against the decision of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to refuse the registration of Andorra as a trademark.

In June 2017, the Govern d'Andorra (Government of the Principality) had filed this application with the EUIPO to protect this trademark affixed to various goods (photographs, tobacco, beauty care, ), but also services (financial affairs, monetary affairs, real estate affairs, travel arrangements, education, training, entertainment, sports and cultural activities, micro-publishing, publication of books, publication of texts other than advertising texts, electronic publication of books and online periodicals, provision of non-downloadable online electronic publications).

In a judgment in February 2018, the EUIPO ruled that Andorra could not be considered a trademark. The intellectual property body confirmed its position on appeal on 26 August 2019. According to the EUIPO "the sign would be perceived as designating the geographical origin of the goods and services in question, or the place where those services would be provided" and is "in its view devoid of any distinctive character, since it merely informs of that geographical origin, and not of the particular commercial origin of the goods and services referred to".

Absolute ground for refusal

In its appeal to the CJEU, the Andorran government argued that 'Andorra is not a country known for the production of the goods and the provision of the services in question, so that there is no actual or potential relationship between the goods and services in question and the trade mark applied for which would allow the term "Andorra" to be considered as indicating a geographical origin within the meaning of the Regulation'. Assertion swept aside in its entirety by the CJEU

In its reasoning, the Luxembourg-based institution concludes that "the Govern d'Andorra has failed to challenge the EUIPO's assessment of the descriptive character of the mark applied for in relation to the goods and services at issue and that the EUIPO was right to hold that the mark could not therefore be registered as a European Union mark. This is indeed an absolute ground for refusal which alone justifies that the sign cannot be registered as an EU trade mark.

The European Court of First Instance also refutes the accusations made by the Andorran government against the EUIPO of failure to comply with its duty to state reasons, infringement of the rights of defence or of the principles of legal certainty, equal treatment and good administration.

See the full text of the CJEU judgment (in English  or in Spanish)

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