Chanel loses European legal battle in trademark dispute with Huawei


Chanel handbag. Shutterstock.

French luxury house Chanel lost its trademark battle with Huawei Technologies on Wednesday after a top European court said their logos don’t look alike.

The trademark splash underscores how luxury brands painstakingly protect their signature logos and trademarks that often symbolize luxury, style and exclusivity for millions of people around the world.

The dispute dated back to 2017 when Huawei sought approval from the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), a trademark organization, to register its computer hardware trademark, which has two vertically interlocking semicircles.

Private Chanel objected, saying the design was similar to the registered French logo of two horizontally interlocking semicircles used for its perfumes, cosmetics, costume jewelry, leather goods and clothing.

In 2019, the trademark office rejected Chanel’s objection, saying there was no resemblance and no chance of confusion among the public.

The French luxury house then challenged the ruling before the Luxembourg-based General Court, which dismissed the appeal in its ruling on Wednesday.

‘The logos involved are not similar. The marks must be compared as applied for and registered, without changing their orientation, ”said the tribunal of judges.

The tribunal said the visual differences between the two logos were significant.

“Chanel’s brands in particular have more rounded curves, thicker lines and a horizontal orientation, while the Huawei brand’s orientation is vertical. Consequently, the General Court concludes that the marks are different ”, the General Court said.

The decision can be appealed to the Court of Justice of the EU, the highest in Europe.

The case is T-44/20 Chanel / EUIPO – Huawei Technologies.

By Foo Yun Chee; Editor: Edmund Blair