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    EU General Court finds INSULATE FOR LIFE devoid of distinctive character

    The EU General Court has upheld an OHIM Board of Appeal decision that the word mark INSULATE FOR LIFE, applied for as a Community Trade Mark (CTM) for “building construction; repair; installation services” in class 37, was devoid of distinctive character under Article 7(1)(b) of the CTM Regulation (40/94/EEC, now replaced by 207/2009/EC). The court held that “insulate” had no meaning other than to insulate, and “for life” would be immediately understood by the relevant public, the part of the European public who had a command of English, as meaning “lasts for a lifetime” or “for a lifetime period”. The sign did not have an unusual or ambiguous character which could lead the relevant public to make an association of a different kind. Therefore, in the light of the services at issue, the relevant public would understand INSULATE FOR LIFE as referring to very long-lasting services related to the use of a particularly durable insulation material, and not as indicating the commercial origin of those services. The court also rejected as inadmissible an appeal against the appeal board’s refusal to register INSULATE FOR LIFE for goods in classes 6, 17 and 19, because an application to register the mark for those goods had previously been rejected by the appeal board in a decision which had not been appealed within the requisite time period, and the appeal board’s second decision amounted to a mere confirmation of the first decision.