The EU’s General Court rejects a trademark application for “photos.com”

American image-licensing company Getty Images has lost an appeal with the General Court, the court of first instance of the European Court of Justice. The company applied for trademark protection of the mark "photos.com" for a number of products and services related to photo and image management, but the European trademark authority, OHIM, rejected the application.

The General Court thereby confirmed OHIM's earlier rejection with the justification that the mark lacks distinctiveness in relation to the products and services.

In its decision, the General Court states that the components of the mark only indicate that it concerns a website address and that the products and services included are related to photography. The fact that the applicant actually owns this domain name does not entitle the company to claim CTM (Community trademark) protection.

In addition, Getty did not successfully show that the mark has acquired distinctiveness by having been used to a sufficiently great extent. The evidence presented by the applicant shows that the domain name has been used, but not that the target group of the mark perceives "photos.com" as a trademark.