FC Barcelona has had its bid to register the outline of its club crest dismissed by the General Court.


The Catalan club had sought the registration of the outline of its crest as a Community trade mark


However, the General Court, which as a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, ruled: “The mark sought does not enable consumers to identify the commercial origin of the goods and services covered by the trade mark application” 


The case was brought after FC Barcelona applied to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM) for registration of a figurative sign consisting in the shape of its crest for, inter alia, stationery, clothing items and sports activities as a Community trade mark in April 2013. 


In May 2014, OHIM rejected the application for registration on the ground that the sign in question was “not liable to draw consumers’ attention to the commercial origin of the goods and services covered by the application.”


Following the initial decision Barcelona brought an action against OHIM’s decision before the General Court. 


In its judgment, the General Court confirmed that “none of the characteristics of the sign at issue contains any striking feature which is liable to attract the attention of consumers.”


The judgement also suggested that “the mark sought will rather tend to be perceived by consumers merely as a shape and will not enable them to distinguish the proprietor’s goods or services from those of other undertakings.”


The Court also observed that crests are commonly used in business for purely decorative purposes without fulfilling the function of a trade mark. 


“Consequently, the sign in question does not have the distinctive character required by the Regulation on the Community trade mark 1 for the purposes of being registered.


“The Court further observes that FC Barcelona has not succeeded in demonstrating that the sign has acquired distinctive character through its use. 


“In those circumstances, the General Court dismisses in its entirety the action brought by FC Barcelona.”