Honda won an opposition in the UK against an application for a trademark ‘Vtecdirect’ in class 37 for the “the fitting and installation of Vehicle parts; the maintenance, repair, and servicing of vehicles”.
Against this mark, the Japanese company invoked its earlier mark for ‘VTEC’ in class 12.
According to the Patent Office, there is a similarity between both signs that can create consumer confusion. Both trademarks are visually similar due to the VTEC part which has a leading position. Although DIRECT word creates some conceptual difference it is not enough to overcome the similarity especially taking into account the fact that this word is not so distinctive.
The applicant’s argument that there was no confusion because both companies have different business models and in fact, its services enhance Honda’s sales were been dismissed. The trademark role is to indicate trade origin not to promote someone else’s brand.