Due to its descriptive nature, “MARRY ME” cannot be protected as a union word mark for online dating. The European Court saw a direct connection between online dating and marriage.
„MARRY ME“ as Union word mark for Online Dating
Online dating is in vogue and so the plaintiff, Marry Me Group AG(Switzerland), filed an application in 2016 for registration of the signs ‘MARRY ME’ as union word marks(Switzerland). Among other things, the application was made for the Nice classes class 9 (“Software for virtual social networks”), 38 (“Provision of Internet chat rooms for social networks”) and 45 (“Mediation of acquaintances via social networks”).
Both the EUIPO and the Board of Appeal of the EUIPO refused to register the mark. The mark applied for directly describes the nature and intended purpose of the goods and services applied for. In addition, it is immediately clear to consumers that all the goods and services applied for in Classes 9, 38 and 45 concern dating services for the purpose of marriage.
“MARRY ME” descriptive of the goods claimed
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) endorsed the EUIPO view with its ruling. The applicant claimed that there was no sufficiently direct and concrete connection between the impression created by the mark applied for and the goods and services claimed. The European Court disagreed. Consumers immediately understand that the goods and services covered by the trade mark application make it possible to associate persons wishing to marry, according to the CJEU.
The “software for virtual social networks” claimed by the mark applied for in Nice Class 9 is software for finding partners, the court concluded. And the services in Class 38 covered by the mark applied for are all used for making contact and communicating with other persons. Consequently, they could also be used to find partners willing to marry and to discuss issues related to love and marriage, the Court argued. The services in Class 45, on the other hand, have the aim of bringing people together who have serious intentions to marry, notwithstanding the plaintiff’s assertion that those services are not marriage brokerage services, the CJEU ruled.
“MARRY ME” is therefore descriptive of the goods and services applied for and is therefore excluded from registration as a trade mark.
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