Registering the name of an independent state: Andorra’s case

Andorra – the independent state : Bureaucracy problems

The Principality of Andorra is not allowed to register its own name as a Union trademark. 

The government of the small principality is not allowed to protect the name “ANDORRA” as a Union trademark. The figurative sign should be used for marketing various goods and services. But that was recently discussed by the ECJ.

Andorra is an independent principality situated between Spain and France.

After years of dispute, the small principality of Andorra has conceded defeat before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CFI). The figurative sign “ANDORRA” may not be registered as an EU trademark for goods or services – this has been  ruled on Wednesday (judgment of 23 February 2022, RS: T-806/19).

The Principality had applied to the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) for registration of the name as a trademark for, among other things, photographs, tobacco and travel, but also financial and real estate services. However, the Office rejected the application. It found that due to its descriptive character, the name could be misunderstood as the place of origin of the goods or the place where the services are provided. The term was considered descriptive and did not have the necessary distinctive character under trademark law. The Principality sued against the decision.

The ECJ now dismissed the action in its entirety. The decision of the ECJ was a clear rejection of the monopolisation of a state’s designation. This is in line with the intention of the relevant trademark regulations.

 

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Registering the name of an independent state: Andorra’s case

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