Google lost a trademark dispute in Japan regarding an invalidation procedure against a registered trademark “NYAN TUBER” written in Japanese Katakana character, for pet services in classes 35 and 42:
According to Google this mark was confusingly similar to the term You Tuber which has gained reputation, around the world and in Japan too, for services related to the Google’s business.
The Japanese owner of the trademark argued that You Tuber is a term used by everyone who has a channel in You Tube and it cannot serve as a trademark.
When it comes to the trademark itself, the first part of it means the sound that cats make (meow).
The Japanese Patent Office dismissed the invalidation. According to the Office You Tuber is just a generic term used be everyone who upload videos on YouTube. From that perspective it cannot be a source of trade origin for a particular company or person.
The fact that Google has no registered trademarks for You Tuber is evidence for this conclusion.
However, even in case that the term can be a trademark, it is not similar to “NYAN TUBER” because the words YOU and NYAN are quite different from visual, phonetic and conceptual point of view.
Source: Masaki MIKAMI – Marks IP Law Firm.