This week, Chanel lost a trademark case in the European Union against Chinese technology company Huawei after nearly four years of battle. The dispute began in December 2017 when Chanel initiated an opposition proceeding with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to block the registration of Huawei’s logo (pictured below on the right) for computer hardware. Pointing to its world-famous interlocking “CC” logo, which is registered in Class 9, the luxury French fashion house argued that Huawei’s mark was confusingly similar. To see why, Chanel contended, just rotate Huawei’s mark by 90 degrees.
Nevertheless, Chanel met defeat before the EUIPO in 2019, appealed, faced dismissal at the Fourth Board of Appeal of the EUIPO, appealed again, and lost once more before the EU General Court. On April 21, 2021, the General Court held that the marks at issue “share certain characteristics” but are “visually different” at bottom, from “the more rounded shape of the curves” to the “greater thickness of the line of those curves” in Chanel’s mark as compared to Huawei’s. Ultimately, the marks were found to be different and the action was dismissed.
This case is Chanel SAS v. EUIPO, Case T-44/20. The General Court of the European Union’s April 21, 2021 judgement can be viewed here: https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-04/cp210067en.pdf.