After Lego secured a 1999 CTM registration of its 2×4 dimension shape lego brick, one if its competitors, Mega Brands (it makes Mega Bloks), successfully sought cancellation of the registration claiming it was functional.
Lego appealed the cancellation. Today the European Court of First Instance rejected Lego’s application to reinstate its trademark.
Lego had submitted details of surveys showing that most consumers identified the plastic red brick with studs on top as the company’s brand, and that consumer perception had to be taken into consideration when the judges looked at ‘the essential characteristics of the shape at issue’.
But the judges ruled that consumer perception was not relevant to an analysis of the functionality of the design and that, if it was purely functional, the shape itself had to be available to everyone.