The decision made in London today refused the request for registration of the European Union trademark presented by Chapter 4 New York (the legal arm of Supreme New York) impacting all Supreme Italia branding for clothing and accessories for retail and online sales. The verdict could be seen as a victory for Supreme Italia, but it does not apply to the national trademark registration that is protected in each state. The only consequence of the EUIPO is that every battle for the trademark registration will be fought in each European State Tribunal.
The EUIPO tribunal has decided to re-examine the application for Chapter 4 about Supreme’s logo thanks to a third party reporting and it based the decisions on its descriptive nature, and lack of distinctiveness. Meaning that “Supreme’s” literal meaning for the average consumer of the English and Romance languages, attributes it to a sign meaning of “highest quality” and thus the average consumer would perceive this as an informative sign on the quality of the products and services in question. Furthermore, and for the same reasons, the office considered that the mark is also devoid of distinctive character, as perceived only as an appreciative promotional message, unsuitable to identify a commercial origin. Consequently, EUIPO has refused registration of the Supreme brand to the Trademark Regulation of the European Union.
The umbrella brand for Supreme Italia, called IBF (International Brand Firm) that has been hit by civil and criminal actions by Chapter 4, has commented the verdict:
“When we were attacked we immediately said that the Supreme New York was not valid because descriptive; yet we have not been heard. We had to undergo injunctions and criminal seizures, as well as an extensive media campaign, also through the unscrupulous use of influencers and social media, which has depicted us as “great counterfeiters” of a strong and internationally known brand. We have been forced to suspend our presence on the Italian market. All this for a brand that we had always supported. Who will repay the damages suffered?”
Gianfranco Laneve, Commercial Director of IBF has stated
Despite the EUIPO decision it will not affect the national registrations of Chapter 4, it is still considered a quite important plot twist in the legal battle between Supreme and Supreme Italia, that will definitely see some continued legal actions in the future.