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La Vie Est Belle cannot be registered as trademark in Taiwan

2013/06/27 20:58:44

(From the website of Lancome Taiwan)

Taipei, June 27 (CNA) The Intellectual Property Office won a legal battle Thursday after the Supreme Administrative Court turned down a business' appeal to register "La Vie Est Bell" as a trademark for a French perfume.

The office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Nov. 2011 rejected Lancome Parfums et Beaute & Cie SA's application to register "La Vie Est Belle" as a trademark for one of its products on the ground that the sentence in French meaning "life is beautiful" is not inherently distinctive.

Refusing to accept the decision, Lancome filed an administrative suit, arguing that to consumers who do not know the French language the sentence is "highly distinctive" and to those who know French it simply means life is wonderful -- exactly an idea that the company wants to carry through the perfume.

Lancome futher contended that it had hired U.S. movie star Julia Roberts to promote "La Vie Est Belle" perfume as a symbol of wonderful life enjoyed by Roberts in her perfect marriage, and so the proposed trademark name is "totally distinctive."

In response, the bureau said "Lancome" is a logo by which consumers can identify perfumes while "La Vie Est Belle" simply gives an impression of a catchword.

The court ruled that the French expression is widely used in movies, music titles and even individual blogs, an indication that it is not identifiable as a trademark.

The ruling was final. Lancome cannot file further appeals.

(By Huang Yi-han and S.C. Chang)