The UK Arthur Brand Management Company Limited filed a trademark application in Japan for the following sign in Class 41 – health club services [health and fitness training]; club services [entertainment or education]; teaching and educational services; organization of competitions [education or entertainment]; presentation of movies:
Against this mark an opposition was filed by Bentley Motors Company based on the following earlier trademarks registered in Japan for Class 12 – vehicles:
In addition, the company claimed that these marks have a strong and longstanding reputation in the country which is the reason who the applicant try to take advantage of it by copying the marks and free-riding in general.
The Japan Patent Office upheld the opposition. Although the services in class 41 are completely different from the goods in class 12, the applied for sign and the earlier once are almost identical. This in conjunction with the high level of acquired reputation by the Bentley Motors’ trademarks since 1920, can mislead and confuse the consumers to believe that the later mark has a relation with the Bentley Motors’ business.
Source: Masaki MIKAMI, Mark IP Law Firm.