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EU Court rejects Chanel trademark suit against Huawei

Jon Shelton
April 21, 2021

The French luxury brand claimed the Chinese tech company's computer hardware logo was similar to its own. The Court said there was no risk of the two being confused.

A masked woman holding her telephone as she walks past a Chanel store in Beijing, China
Logo savvy customers are not very likely to confuse Chanel's iconic interlocked C's with that of the Chinese tech companyImage: Weng Qiyu/HPIC/dpa/picture alliance

The European General Court in Luxembourg on Wednesday rejected a trademark infringement suit brought by French luxury goods producer Chanel against the Chinese technology company Huawei.

The case stems from Huawei's 2017 EU trademark protection application for its computer hardware division's logo. Chanel sought to block the application, claiming Huawei's interlocking rings were confusingly similar to its own iconic interlocking C logo.

In 2019, the EU's Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the bloc's trademark authority, rejected the French brand's claims. Chanel subsequently appealed the ruling, landing it before the Luxembourg court.

At issue is not Huawei's well-known fan-shaped logo but rather one with vertically oriented, thinly-drawn, elongated and interlocking U's. In its ruling, the court said, "The figurative marks at issue are not similar. The marks must be compared as applied for and registered, without altering their orientation."

Moreover, judges added: "In particular, Chanel's marks have more rounded curves, thicker lines and a horizontal orientation, whereas the orientation of the Huawei mark is vertical. Consequently, the General Court concludes that the marks are different."

The final court of appeal for Chanel is now the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's highest court.

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