In a recent administrative trademark decision, the Opposition Board of Japan Patent Office (JPO) upheld an opposition to the registration of “CHLOEFRANCIS” on the ground that it is likely to cause confusion with a French fashion house, Chloe.
[Opposition case no. 2018-900048, Gazette issued date: August 30, 2019]
Opposed mark, a word mark “CHLOEFANCIS” in standard character was applied for registration on May 25, 2017 for ‘shoes’ in class 25 by Kabushiki Kaisha Jay Jay Japan, a Japanese shoemaker.
Jay Jay Japan has been promoting the sales of women’s shoes, ballerinas and heels using the CHLOEFRANCIS mark.
Opposition by Chloe
On February 23, 2018, Chloe S.A.S., a French luxury fashion house founded in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, filed an opposition, stating that relevant consumers are likely to confuse or misconceive opposed mark with Chloe or any business entity systematically or economically connected with opponent due to high popularity of opponent’s fashion brand “Chloe” and close resemblance between opposed mark and “Chloe”.
Chloe sought to retroactively cancel opposed mark based on Article 4(1)(xv) of the Trademark Law.
Article 4(1)(xv) provides that a mark shall not be registered where it is likely to cause confusion with other business entity’s well-known goods or services, to the benefit of brand owner and users’ benefits.
The Board admitted “Chloe” has acquired a high degree of reputation among relevant consumers and traders in connection with fashion items.
Besides, the Board found that opposed mark apparently consists of “CHLOE” and “FRANCIS”. If so, relevant consumers shall be impressed with the term “CHLOE” and consider it a dominant part of opposed mark since they easily conceive a famous source indicator of the high-end fashion brand, Chloe.
Furthermore, the Board pointed out that Jay Jay Japan has used opposed mark with a space between the two words, “CHLOE” and “FRANCIS”.
Based on the foregoing, the Board concluded that, relevant traders or consumers are likely to confuse or misconceive a source of opposed mark with Chloe SAS or any entity systematically or economically connected with the opponent when used on shoes in class 25 and declared cancellation based on Article 4(1)(xv).
Masaki MIKAMI, Attorney at IP LAW – Founder of MARKS IP LAW FIRM