Puma won one interesting trademark opposition in Finland. The case concerns a trademark application for RUMA in classes 25 and 28 (clothes and toys among others).
Against this application an opposition was filed by Puma based on early registered trademark for PUMA in the same classes.
The Finish Patent and Registration Office dismissed the opposition considering the two marks as not confusingly similar. The reasons were the different first leters and the conceptual dissimilarity.
The decision was appealed. The Court upheld it after which the decision was applied again.
The Supreme Administrative Court overturned the decision finding both marks visually similar despite the first letters that are different. According to the Court the letters P and R are similar in appearance.
The Court questioned whether consumers would understand directly the meaning of PUMA as a word. Even if this was the case PUMA was distinctive for all the goods in classes 25 and 28. What’s more because of its reputation it has even stronger distinctive character. The interesting part here was the fact that the Court concluded on the existence of PUMA’s trademark reputation without submitted evidence in the proceeding.
According to the Court, when it comes to clothes they are often sold in stores where consumers choose between them mostly based on their visual aspects and not so based on conceptual or phonetic characteristics.
Taking all of this, the Court considered that both marks are similar enough.