A bumpy ride for Hyundai Motor Company over use of EON trademark

Hyundai Motor Company filed a UK trademark application for the words Hyundai EON, which E.ON AG opposed on the basis of its existing community trademark registration for the word E.ON in stylised form. E.ON claimed, among other grounds, there was a likelihood of confusion between the marks.

In comparing the two marks, the Hearing Officer cited the Court of Justice of the European Union’s decision in Medion where the court acknowledged that a likelihood of confusion can arise from use of a composite mark that is partly comprised of an earlier identical mark — if that earlier mark had an independent distinctive role in the composite mark. The earlier sign need not necessarily constitute the dominant element of the composite mark.

The hearing officer had found that the word EON in Hyundai’s trademark was a distinctive element that retained an independent distinctive role and found in favour of E.ON that there was a likelihood of confusion…

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