KFC Japan won a hot trademark dispute

One interesting and a really hot trademark dispute in Japan has come to an end recently. Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan filed the following trademark application for RED HOT written in Japanese Katakana character:

The mark covered variety of goods in classes 29 and 30, including meat but with exception of seasonings and spices.

Against this mark an application was filed by the US company  French’s Food Company LLC based on the following earlier two marks for class 30 – seasonings and spices:

According to the US company, its marks had reputation in Japan for these goods and because of it there was a likelihood of confusion between the signs.

That wasn’t the opinion of the Patent Office, however. The opposition was dismissed in its entirety. The argument for this was the fact that seasonings and spices are not similar to the rest of the products in classes 29 and 30.

When it comes to the reputation of the earlier marks, the Office wasn’t convinced entirely. The fact that the mark was popular among specific dining restaurants  in the country is not enough a strong reputation to be established.

What’s more the presence of the distinctive work FRANK’S created the necessary distinguishing feature between the signs at hand.

Source: Masaki MIKAMI, Marks IP Law Firm.

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