ECJ: Squeeze Bottle Devoid of Distinctive Trademark Character
79 According to consistent case-law, the distinctive character of a trade mark within the meaning of Article 7(1)(b) of Regulation No 40/94 means that the mark in question makes it possible to identify the product in respect of which registration is applied for as originating from a particular undertaking, and thus to distinguish that product from those of other undertakings (Joined Cases C‑473/01 P and C‑474/01 P Procter & Gamble v OHIM  ECR I‑5173, paragraph 32, and Case C‑64/02 P OHIM v Erpo Möbelwerk  ECR I‑10031, paragraph 42). That distinctive character must be assessed, first, by reference to the products or services in respect of which registration has been applied for and, second, by reference to the perception of the relevant public (Procter & Gamble v OHIM, paragraph 33, and Case C‑24/05 P Storck v OHIM  ECR I‑5677, paragraph 23).
80 According to equally consistent case-law, the criteria for assessing the distinctive character of three-dimensional marks consisting of the appearance of the product itself are no different from those applicable to other categories of trade mark. None the less, for the purpose of applying those criteria, the average consumer’s perception is not necessarily the same in the case of a three-dimensional mark consisting of the appearance of the product itself as it is in the case of a word or figurative mark consisting of a sign which is independent of the appearance of the products it denotes. Average consumers are not in the habit of making assumptions as to the origin of products on the basis of their shape or the shape of their packaging in the absence of any graphic or word element, and it may therefore prove more difficult to establish distinctiveness in relation to such a three-dimensional mark than in relation to a word or figurative mark (Case C‑136/02 P Mag Instrument v OHIM  ECR I‑9165, paragraph 30, and Storck v OHIM, paragraphs 24 and 25).
81 In those circumstances, only a mark which departs significantly from the norm or customs of the sector and thereby fulfils its essential function of indicating origin is not devoid of any distinctive character for the purposes of Article 7(1)(b) of Regulation No 40/94 (Case C‑173/04 P Deutsche SiSi-Werke v OHIM  ECR I‑551, paragraph 31, and Storck v OHIM, paragraph 26).
82 In order to assess whether or not a trade mark has any distinctive character, the overall impression given by it must be considered. That does not mean, however, that one may not first examine each of the individual features of the get-up of that mark in turn. It may be useful, in the course of the overall assessment, to examine each of the components of which the trade mark concerned is composed (see, to that effect, Case C-286/04 P Eurocermex v OHIM  ECR I‑5797, paragraphs 22 and 23, and the case-law cited).
89 Moreover, the Court of First Instance explained, in paragraph 53 of the judgment under appeal, that, ‘even if that feature could be considered unusual, alone it is not sufficient to influence the overall impression given by the trade mark sought to such an extent that it departs significantly from the norm or customs of the sector and thereby fulfils its essential function of indicating origin’.
90 Consequently, it cannot be maintained that the Court of First Instance failed correctly to assess the overall impression produced by the mark applied for.