The EU General Court has confirmed that, despite the difference of the goods and services covered by the marks (namely foodstuffs and beverages for MACCOFFEE, and fast food restaurant services for McDONALD's), there was a certain degree of similarity due to the close links between them. The foodstuffs covered by the MACCOFFEE mark could be offered in the context of McDONALD's restaurants and they were aimed at the same consumers.

In addition, the Court confirmed that it was highly likely that the MACCOFFEE mark rode on the coat-tails of the McDONALD's mark due to the possible transfer, by the relevant public, of the image of the earlier mark or of the characteristics which it projected, to the goods covered by the later mark. Consequently, the Board of Appeal had been correct to conclude that the use of MACCOFFEE without due cause took unfair advantage of the repute of the McDONALD's mark.

Will this decision encourage Apple to take a more robust approach to enforcing its iPHONE, iPAD, iPOD, iMAC and iTUNES trade marks?