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The Latvian court admits 'SMART ORANGE' to infringe trademark rights of Orange Brand Services Limited

In 2020 the British company Orange Brands Services Limited (the Plaintiff) brought an action against Smart Orange, SIA (the Defendant) claiming infringement of trademark rights and non-material damage. The action was brought before the Riga City Vidzeme District Court.

Orange Brand Services Limited owns a trademark family ‘ORANGE’ registered in the European Union, including the figurative mark:

Smart Orange, SIA in its commercial activity in Latvia uses a non-registered figurative mark in relation to different electronic goods and household appliances and commerce thereof:

.

This mark is being used at a shop titled ‘MI-SHOP’, on the shop’s signboards, on business cards, as well as in the company’s name Smart Orange, SIA.

Use of the non-registered trade mark ‘SMART ORANGE’ in figurative and verbal (word mark) format is used in commercial activity without the Plaintiff’s permission.

The court having examined the case materials and having heard observations of the Plaintiff’s representative, admits the claim based on the following reasonings:

  • The Plaintiff’s trade marks ‘ORANGE’ are well-known and endowed with reputation the EU in relation to telecommunications, information technologies and goods related to these services.
  • The Plaintiff’s verbal and figurative trade marks ‘ORANGE’ embrace goods and services in classes 9, 38 that are also offered by the Defendant.
  • The dominating part of the Plaintiff’s marks and the sign ‘SMART ORANGE’  is ‘ORANGE’ and since it is identical, it can cause a risk of confusion among consumers.
  • The risk of confusion is increased by the fact that marks at issue are composed of an orange colour square on which white letter inscription is placed.
  • The sign used by the Defendant entails the word element ‘SMART’ which refers to ‘smart technologies’. Therefore, consumers may have associations that this sign is one of the Plaintiff’s family trade marks, because it is similarly created, namely, by using the dominant component ‘ORANGE’ in combination with a descriptive element.
  • There are legal grounds to prohibit the Defendant to use in commercial sites/shop signboards similar signs to the Plaintiff’s marks ‘ORANGE’ or signs that would confusingly reproduce, imitate, translate or transliterate the reputed trade marks in relation to goods in Class 9 and services in Classes 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42.
  • The Defendant shall be obliged to change the company’s (firm) name that it would not include the sign ‘ORANGE’ or a confusing reproduction, imitation, translation or transliteration of this designation.

The Plaintiff in this case was represented by trademark attorneys Gatis Meržvinskis un Gunta Zariņa.

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