German retailer Metro won a long running battle over a trademark with Tesco on Wednesday when Europe's second highest court ruled in its favour.

Metro applied to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), the European Union's trademark authority, in 1998 to register the figurative sign METRO as a trademark in the EU.

The move was opposed by Tesco, which operates a chain of Tesco Metro stores that are smaller than its supermarkets and mostly located in city centres and high streets.

Tesco said it already had rights to the METRO name a claim upheld by the OHIM.

But the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg said that after Tesco had missed a deadline to renew the trademark in 2003, the marks did not co exist. It annulled the OHIM decision not to grant the METRO mark to Metro.