The Japan Patent Office has ruled in a case for invalidation of the SB NAGAMOCHI trademark registered for the goods in class 12: non-electric prime movers for land vehicles, not including their parts; AC motors or DC motors for land vehicles, not including their parts; automobiles and their parts and fittings; two-wheeled motor vehicles, bicycles and their parts and fittings; adhesive rubber patches for repairing tubes or tires.
The invalidation request was submitted by Bridgestone based on an earlier trademark with reputation B for tires. According to the company the later mark could create consumer confusion and take advantages of the well-known status of the B mark.
Different pieces of evidence were submitted to prove this status. For example, Bridgestone holds 14.6% market share for automobiles tires in the world, and 55.9% in Japan. The company have been using its mark for a myriad of advertising and promotional campaigns for many years including for sponsorship of Olympic games.
This created a strong reputation among the consumers in the country which can be mislead when seeing the SB NAGAMOCHI mark.
The Patent Office agreed and invalidated the later mark.
Source: Masaki MIKAMI