Ballon d’or/Golden balls: No likelihood of confusion!

Symbole copyrightThe Court of First Instance of the European Communities adopted a severe stance on September 16, 2013, concerning the Ballon D’or v Golden Balls (TPICE n°T-437/11 and n°448/11). It held that the two signs do not create any likelihood of confusion within the mind of the relevant public because there are no visual or phonetic similarities between them. The signs differ from one another in terms of language. It retains solely a weak conceptual similarity requiring a preliminary translation of word marks.


According to established case law, a simple conceptual similarity between two trademarks concerning identical goods can create a likelihood of confusion provided that the prior trademark has a high distinctive character. However, the trademark ‘Ballon d’or’ does not have a high distinctive character. This jurisprudence is thus not applicable.


The owner of the trademark ‘Ballon d’or’ has filed an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union on grounds that the Court has not taken the reputation of this trademark into consideration and has not examined any possible relation between the two trademarks. To be continued…