The General Court of the European Union denies trademark protection for the “Button in the Ear”

In a decision of January 16, 2014 the 5th Chamber of the General Court of the European Union has rejected in the legal matter T-433/12 the action of a trademark applicant for registration of a position mark for a shining or dim round metal button in the ear of a plush toy. According to the Court this trademark lacks distinction. First of all, this mark inevitably is fused with the appearance of the plush toy itself and usually would not be understood by the consumer as a hint to the indication to the origin from a certain enterprise. A distinctive sign could only then be seen in if it is considerably different from a usual configuration in the relevant sector. This is, according to the Court, not the case because buttons for plush toys are usual configurations within a wide variety the consumer is used to.