Puma lost an opposition against trademark FOOTWARE for classes 9, 38, 42, filed by Nike in the United Kingdom.
According to Puma this sign is obvious misspelling of the word FOOTWEAR which has particular meaning related to shoes.
From that perspective the mark applied for is not distinctive and it is descriptive even for the specified goods and services because it can be perceived, for example, as a software used in relation to footwear.
Nike response was that the sign was distinctive enough. The WARE part has been already registered as a separate trademark for the same classes. On top of that Puma themselves owns a trademark SPORTSWEAR.
The UK Patent Office dismissed the opposition stating that there were no sufficient evidence that the word FOOTWARE can be understood in a descriptive way for the specified goods and services.
What’s more, the way how it is spelled requires additional considerations from the consumers in order they to get the meaning of the word Footwear.
This case is an example about the so-called suggestive trademarks which meaning is not direct but requires additional intellectual efforts from the consumers to be determined. In some cases these marks can receive protection.
Source: Charlotte Wilding – Kemp Little LLP за Lexology.