The EUIPO has ruled in opposition proceedings between UFC fighter Conor McGregor's company, McGregor Sports and Entertainment Limited, and Dutch clothing firm McGregor IP B.V. McGregor Sports and Entertainment Limited had applied for an EUTM for CONOR McGREGOR in respect of a wide range of merchandise goods including "clothing; footwear; headgear". McGregor IP B.V. opposed this application on the basis of their EU trade mark registration D.D. McGREGOR, registered for "clothing, footwear, headgear".

The EUIPO found sufficient similarity between the marks and identity of the goods in Class 25 for there to be a likelihood of confusion and so rejected the mixed martial arts star's application in Class 25.

It was found that the differences between the two marks, namely the first names preceding the shared surname, were not enough for consumers to be able to differentiate between the producers: it's not uncommon for fashion labels to launch new ranges under slight variations to their name.

Further, although the earlier registration was an EUTM the Office found that consumers in the Netherlands, Finland, and the Scandinavian countries in particular would recognise McGregor as a brand name (as it is not a common surname in these territories) and so assume that the goods came from the same or linked undertakings.

A submission by the applicant of the result of an opposing national decision from the UK was dismissed as the relevant public involved in that decision did not correlate with the relevant public in the EUIPO proceedings and a lack of confusion in one member state does not overcome a likelihood of confusion in another.

This decision highlights the importance of bearing in mind the wide range of consumers and cultures across the EU when filing an EU trade mark application. It also demonstrates how opponents can draw on their own perspective, which may be particular to their country of origin, when making arguments in opposition proceedings.