IG Communications Ltd v OHIM, European Union General Court
IG Communications had applied to register CITIGATE as a European Community Trade Mark. The people who owned various CITI marks including CITIBANK opposed the application. The Board of Appeal of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) agreed with the opposition. The EU General Court has now upheld that decision. Although there was little similarity between the market research, public agency and business consultancy services of the applicant and the financial services of the opponent, there was still a likelihood of confusion between the marks as the relevancy public would think that CITIGATE was a new mark within the same family of CITI marks. In any event, even for dissimilar services, CITIGATE would take unfair advantage of CITIBANK. This was particularly so given the unusual spelling and the fact that the CITI marks were part of a family of marks using “CITI”.