TRADEMARK – The EUIPO (again) on the registration of human faces as trademarks

Newsletter n. 91 – December 2023

TRADEMARK 

The EUIPO (again) on the registration of human faces as trademarks

On 30 October 2023, the Board of Appeal of EUIPO (BoA) issued its judgments in cases R 1255/2023-4 and R1266/2023-4 and overturned the initial refusal to register the pictures of two well-known Dutch models as figurative trademarks. The EUIPO had firstly rejected the applications based on the fact that the distinctive character of the signs was not proven. The BoA however found no reason to assume that passport-like photographs lack distinctive character because faces, with their unique facial features and characteristics, are able to identify a person and therefore distinguish them from other persons. Therefore the BoA found the signs in question to be distinctive precisely because they identify the persons who provide the services.