The US worldwide clothing and accessories retailer GAP lost a trademark opposition against an application for word mark GAPACE in class 25 – clothes.
According to GAP this new trademark was confusingly similar to earlier trademarks GAP owned by the company. What’s more, GAP has a high level of reputation amongst consumers in Japan.
The Japan Patent Office, however, disagreed and dismissed the opposition in its entirety.
According to the Office, the claimed reputation wasn’t properly proved. The fact that GAP had been operating in Japan since 1994 managing 150 stores wasn’t enough in order to be concluded that the mark was popular.
When it comes to the signs themselves, the Office found them completely dissimilar from the visual and phonetic points of view.
Conceptually there is no similarity too because while GAPACE has no particular meaning, the word GAP can be interpreted as “separation in space”.
Based on this the Office reached a conclusion that both marks were different and not confusingly similar for the opposition to be upheld successfully.