RENFE loses its AVE EUTM due to a linguistic error


On 5 April 2017, the General Court of the European Union rejected the appeal filed by the Spanish National Railway Network (RENFE), claiming that the railway company did not act "diligently" as it did not present the appeal in English before the EUIPO within the set time limit.

The incident dates back to 2012, when Stephen Hahn, a German businessman, filed a request of declaration of invalidity of the AVE mark, as he used the mark in Germany on as a brand for his electric bicycle company.

On 4 February 2014, EUIPO found a likelihood of confusion between the logos, to which RENFE replied in Spanish. EUIPO notified the Spanish railway company of the linguistic error, requesting by fax the document be sent in English within the established time limit, to which RENFE did not reply. RENFE then claimed that the company never received the fax, adding that many times, due to technical errors, faxes get lost, to which EUIPO replies with the registered fax transmission.

The issue finally reaches the General Court, which found the error to fall upon RENFE's responsibility and not EUIPO. "RENFE was aware of the possible technical errors regarding their fax machine" and "therefore, this circumstance was no exceptional nor consequently unforeseeable".

Written by: The UAIPIT Team



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