The US company Twitter lost an opposition proceeding against a trademark application TWEET filed by a Japanese company for class 33: Japanese sake [Nihonsyu]; sake, distilled rice spirits; sake substitute; Japanese white liquor [Shochu]; Japanese sweet rice-based mixed liquor [Shiro-zake]; Naoshi [Japanese liquor]; Japanese Shochu-based mixed liquor [Mirin]; western liquors; alcoholic fruit beverages; Japanese Shochu-based beverages [Chuhai]; Chinese liquors; flavored liquors.
Against this application an opposition was filed by Twitter based on possible confusion with the business of other entities and a trademark with reputation TWEET for classes other than class 33.
As it is well-known the term TWEET is used for short text messages or publications on Twitter which are up to 140 characters long.
The Japan Patent Office, however, dismissed the opposition. The reasons for this were the fact that the word TWEET is used as a descriptive term to indicate function or usage of Twitter. Based on that the consumers would not perceive it as a source of origin.
Because of this the Office considered that it is highly unlikely the consumers to make connections between alcoholic beverages in class 33 with the name TWEET and the services offered by Twitter.
The world well-known toy manufacturer LEGO lost a trademark dispute against the following trademark application filed in Japan for class 28 – cat toys:
Against this application, LEGO invoked its Lego trademark for class 28 and claimed an acquired reputation amongst Japanese consumers.
The Japan Patent Office agreed that LEGO is a well-known trademark in the country for many years a conclusion supported even by the fact that half of the schools in Japan used Lego toys for educational purposes.
Nevertheless, the Office dismissed the opposition stating that both signs are not confusingly similar. The Lego’s argument that CATTY is descriptive terms as the first part of the later mark, was rejected.
According to the Office, the other reason for lack of confusion was the fact that the goods target different manufacturers, consumer audience and distribution channels.
WIPO reports about the accession of the European Union to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications. The Agreement will come into force on 26.02.2020. In that way, every owner of European geographical indication in the EU will be able to apply for international protection in all Member States of the Agreement based on one application managed by WIPO. This by itself reduces significantly the time and money needed for such a registration process.