Evaluation criteria for similarity of trademarks in Japan Vol.3 | Actual state of transactions of goods/services



Kuma
In the previous post, you teached me the evaluation criteria for similarity of trademarks which were presented by the supreme court in Japan.

Evaluation criteria for similarity of trademarks in Japan Vol.2 | Criteria presented by "Hyozan Jirushi Case" (Judgement by Supreme Court in Japan on 27 February in 1968)

2017.08.09
Fumi
Yeah.
It is very important even now to determining similarity of trademarks.
Kuma
You said that any reasonable grounds are needed to regard “appearance” as important than “pronunciation” in determining similarity of trademarks.
Fumi
Yes, under the current trademark practice in Japan.
Kuma
Could you show me an example for “reasonable grounds”?
Fumi
Sure.

It is effective to argue that there is the actual state of transactions of the goods/services for which the trademarks are used where the “appearance” and/or “meaning” of trademarks constitute more important elements to distinguish the origin of goods/services than “pronunciation” thereof.

If such “actual state of transactions” exists, it could constitute the reasonable ground.

Kuma
Then, I should argue that my products are always sold while showing the consumers the appearance of its trademark actually in case I received the Office Action based on a prior trademark whose pronunciation was identical to my trademark as filed, right?
Fumi
Unfortunately, no.
Fumi
If you are in the process of prosecuting your trademark application, it is not enough to argue the actual state of transactions about “your products”.

You need to make the Examiner understand that not only your products/services but also “general” goods/services designated in your application are usually sold in the situation where the consumers pay attention to the appearance of trademark rather than its pronunciation.

Kuma
Why?
Fumi
As you may know, a trademark right owner can exclusively use his registered trademark for any kinds of goods/servieces designated in the registration.

For example, you have a trademark registration to exclusively use the mark “ABC” for the goods “computers”, and you are now selling your computer products with the registered mark in the manner that the consumers pay attention to the appearance of the mark rather than its pronunciation.

However, you will be able to use the registered mark for other computers which are sold in the manner to draw consumer’s attention to its pronunciation, of course.

That’s why it is required in application cases that there is “general” actual state of transactions of goods/services to atract consumer’s attention to the elements of trademark other than its pronunciation.

Kuma
I see.
Fumi
OK.
Then, let’s discuss more concretely in the next!






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