By Raf Casert Associated Press
BRUSSELS — A European Union high court ruled on Wednesday that the name Viaguara cannot be registered as an EU trademark for energy and alcoholic drinks because it is too similar to the impotence pill Viagra.
The EU’s General Court ruled that the similarity allowed Viaguara “to take unfair advantage of the distinctive character or repute of the trademark Viagra.”
The Polish company by the same name had already applied for the EU trademark in 2005 but was refused. The court has now rejected the appeal. The General Court ruling itself can only be appealed on points of law.
The U.S. medical company Pfizer Inc. produces the erectile dysfunction pill Viagra.
Also because of the medical implications, the court said it was dangerous to let a mental link exist.
“Even if the non-alcoholic drinks concerned do not actually have the same benefits as a drug to treat erectile dysfunction, the consumer will be inclined to buy them thinking that he will find similar qualities, such as an increase in libido,” the court said in a statement.
Pfizer welcomed the ruling. If Viaguara had been allowed to co-exist “the public would likely establish a ‘link’ between the two marks and Viaguara would take unfair advantage of the distinctive character or the repute of Pfizer’s well-known trademark,” the company said in a statement.
Pfizer said that since its introduction in 1998, Viagra has been prescribed to more than 37 million men worldwide.