Four letter words

HEMA is a well-known convenience store in the Netherlands where you can buy products like clothing to kitchen utensils. Maybe you went into a HEMA when you visited the Netherlands (or cities as Paris where the HEMA can also be found). Simplicity is key in the design of its products.

In case of companies like HEMA but also IKEA, the main goal is to have the specification up to date. When the assortment is broadened with hammers, the trademark must also be protected for hammers.

Apparently the HEMA trademark was not yet registered for cosmetics in the European Union. Reason enough to file a new application for HEMA. An important step is to conduct a trademark search first. Even in case of trademarks that already exists for ages like HEMA, this step should not be overlooked: the fact that HEMA is a well-known trademark does not mean that HEMA is also available in every EU Member State for cosmetics.

Unfortunately for HEMA, the new application got opposed: an opposition was filed on the Spanish trademark LEMA. An insurmountable hurdle? No. LEMA and HEMA include three of the four letters. The first letter, which generally receives most of the attention of the consumer, differs. In addition, LEMA and HEMA are short trademarks, which means that differences have a stronger effect. Finally, LEMA has a meaning in Spanish. In view of all these elements, the overall impression is sufficiently different according to EUIPO. So, HEMA was registered for cosmetics at the end.


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Arnaud Bos

“Merkbescherming geeft vrijheid om te kunnen ondernemen.”



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