In an administrative appeal disputing trademark similarity between TM registration no. 2705284 for word mark “REVO” and a junior trademark represented as below, the Appeal Board of Japan Patent Office (JPO) decided that both marks are deemed dissimilar and allowed to register the junior trademark accordingly.
[Appeal case no. 2017-8341]
Disputed mark (see above) was applied for trademark registration on October 30, 2015 by designating goods of telecommunication machines, electronic machines and others belonging to class 9.
As a result of substantive examination by the JPO, examiner refused the disputed mark by citing a senior TM registration “REVO” based on Article 4(1)(xi) of the Trademark Law to find that the citation has also covered telecommunication machines, electronic machines in the designation which are deemed identical with disputed mark.
Subsequently, the applicant of disputed mark filed an appeal to the case.
Main issue at the appeal rested on how disputed mark should be pronounced in the assessment of trademark similarity.
In this respect, the Board held that disputed mark gives rise to a sole pronunciation of “kju- riːvo” in view of overall configuration fully consolidated from appearance.
Based on the finding, the Board compared the disputed mark and the citation in the aspect of visual appearance, sound and concept, and concluded, inter alia, both sounds, “kju- riːvo” and “ riːvo”, are distinctively dissimilar.
It has been recognized in Japan that hyphen (-) serves as a separator of words at fore-and-aft position. To see a graphical distinction between the “Q” logo and “revo”, I believe the decision isn’t quite persuasive enough.
Masaki MIKAMI, Attorney at IP Law – Founder of MARKS IP LAW FIRM
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