CHANEL lost a trademark dispute in Japan regarding its famous COCO brand

One interesting trademark dispute from Japan where the local company 196+ Inc. applied for a trademark “COCOMIST” in class 3 – cosmetics, perfumery, fragrances, incense, toiletry preparations, etc.

Against this application an opposition was filed by the well-known fashion company CHANEL SARL based on an earlier mark for COCO for the same goods. According to the French company both signs are similar and there is a likelihood for a consumer confusion especially taking into account the reputation of the earlier mark in Japan.

In addition, the company suggested that the COCO reputation is enhanced by the nickname of the French fashion designer “Gabrielle COCO CHANEL” who was the founder of the brand.

The Japanese Patent Office, however, wasn’t impressed enough from these arguments. According to the Office when compared both signs have to be taken in their entirety. From that point of view the signs are dissimilar. The Office couldn’t find any particular meaning when it comes to the mark applied for in order to conclude likelihood of confusion between both marks even though the earlier mark has a strong reputation in Japan.

Source: Masaki MIKAMI, Marks IP Law Firm.