Irish boyband Westlife is involved in a trademark tussle with German cigarette company West. After five years' legal wrangling, the case is due to be heard tomorrow (Jan. 18) at the European Union's C

Irish boyband Westlife is involved in a trademark tussle with German cigarette company West. After five years' legal wrangling, the case is due to be heard tomorrow (Jan. 18) at the European Union's Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

Hamburg-based Reemark Gesellschaft fur Marken Kooperation Mbh, the manufacturer of West cigarettes, is hoping to overturn a decision to officially recognize Westlife as a trademark. Westlife filed its name in May 1999 with the European Union's Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, which has responsibility for trademarks and designs.

Reemark argues that it registered "West" as a name in Germany beforehand. It claims consumers might be confused by the two brands.

Westlife's legal team argues that the names are significantly different, and the products are emphatically diverse. However, Reemark says that the risk of confusion is potentially heightened with Westlife's planned launch of a range of clothing and other branded products.