BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)-The European Court of First Instance Thursday granted Orange, the mobile telecommunication arm of France Telecom, the rights to the trademark Mobilix used by the company's former Danish operations.
The court said there is no likelihood that the Mobilix trademark will be confused with the Obelix name used in the Asterix comic strip, as the comic's publisher had claimed.
In 2003, the French publisher Les Editions Albert Rene SARL challenged Orange European trademark for the name, arguing there was danger of confusion because of the ending "ix".
Judges dismissed the argument and said the public would easily recognize Mobilix as "something mobile or mobility", while Obelix is known to be "the corpulent character from the comic strip series."
The court also said Les Editions Albert Rene couldn't be granted the exclusive right to the use of the ending "ix".
Also affected by the court's ruling is a German Web site called MobiliX, whose content deals with the mobile use of the Unix computer operating system. In 2003, a German court forced the site to change its name because of its similarity to the Obelix brand.
The owner of the domain name, IT specialist Werner Heuser, said he asked the European trademark office to overrule the German ban. A final decision is still pending.
Orange stopped using the Mobilix brand in 2001 and last year sold its Danish operations to Finnish-Swedish telecommunication company TeliaSonera AB.
-By Nadine Goertz, Dow Jones Newswires; +32 2 741 1480; Nadine.email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires"
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