Indicating a geographical region in the name of a trademark

The registration of the trademark „C. Swiss Salami – dry smoked product” was refused by the competent authority on the grounds that the use of the word „Swiss” would give the consumer the impression that the product was a traditional product of repute.

The Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled that a reasonable consumer will not be able to perceive the use of the word “Swiss” as an indication of origin, even if images, perceptions or sensations associated with the reputation of certain regions are evoked in his mind. It therefore found that the name met the legal requirements, even if it referred to a particular region.

The Court of Appeal held that the phrase “Swiss salami” is rather fanciful, generically associating the product with qualities linked in the collective imagination with Switzerland (essentially quality), but such a typology of mental evocation, specific to very many categories of trademarks, cannot be regarded as having the value of a geographical indication of provenance, nor can it be regarded as misleading.

The Court thus established that the analysis of the distinctiveness of a trademark cannot be carried out in a fragmentary manner, by taking its component elements out of context, but must consider the trademark as a whole.

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