No infringement “The Crossbox” on CrossFit brand
In the proceedings between the Dutch association Vereniging Exclusieve Sportcentra (VES) and Crossfit Inc. the Court in The Hague ruled that the Crossfit brand has little distinctive character and that the use of the “The Crossbox” brand does not infringe these trademark rights.
First of all, the Court rules that CrossFit cannot invoke the protection of a “well-known brand”. Well-known brands benefit from a wider protection than ‘normal’ or unknown brands. The trademark CrossFit therefore only has a standard scope of protection. The question then is whether the brand “The CrossBox” would create a likelihood of confusion with the CrossFit brand. The court finds that as the element ‘cross’ is derived from cross-training and ‘fit’ refers to fitness, the brand has only a modest distinctive character. The scope of protection in this case is therefore limited.
The court further rules that the only similar element is ‘cross’, while the more distinctive part ‘Box’ only occurs at The CrossBox, so that there is little similarity between the brands. The element ‘box’ also has an distinctive character because the word ‘the’ is used in the trademark. All in all, the court rules that there is no risk of confusion between The CrossBox and the CrossFit brand.
A nice victory for the Dutch VES against the big American party CrossFit. This means that all gyms affiliated with VES are free to continue offering their The CrossBox classes!