Twitter lost an opposition against a trademark TWEET in Japan

The US company Twitter lost an opposition proceeding against a trademark application TWEET filed by a Japanese company for class 33: Japanese sake [Nihonsyu]; sake, distilled rice spirits; sake substitute; Japanese white liquor [Shochu]; Japanese sweet rice-based mixed liquor [Shiro-zake]; Naoshi [Japanese liquor]; Japanese Shochu-based mixed liquor [Mirin]; western liquors; alcoholic fruit beverages; Japanese Shochu-based beverages [Chuhai]; Chinese liquors; flavored liquors.

Against this application an opposition was filed by Twitter based on possible confusion with the business of other entities and a trademark with reputation TWEET for classes other than class 33.

As it is well-known the term TWEET is used for short text messages or publications on Twitter which are up to 140 characters long.

The Japan Patent Office, however, dismissed the opposition. The reasons for this were the fact that the word TWEET is used as a descriptive term to indicate function or usage of Twitter. Based on that the consumers would not perceive it as a source of origin.

Because of this the Office considered that it is highly unlikely the consumers to make connections between alcoholic beverages in class 33 with the name TWEET and the services offered by Twitter.

Source:  Masaki MIKAMI

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