The Appeal plank of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) affirmed Examiner’s refuse to it is registered the wordmark “U.S. POLO ASSN.” due to similarity to and a likelihood of confusion with earlier registered note “POLO” own by The Polo/Lauren Company, L.P.
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“U.S. POLO ASSN.”United says POLO combination filed a trademark registration because that wordmark “U.S. POLO ASSN.” in conventional character on January 13, 2016, over various kinds that bags, leather products, and other products in course 18.
On January 12, 2018, the JPO Examiner rubbish the used mark in contravention of short article 4(1)(xi) and (xv) of the Japan Trademark Law on the grounds the “U.S. POLO ASSN.” consists of a term “POLO” i beg your pardon has come to be famous as a source indicator that The Polo/Lauren Company, L.P in link with clothing and also home décor. Pertinent consumers v ordinary care would conceive the term as a prominent part of the applied mark. If so, both marks shall it is in deemed similar or most likely to cause confusion when supplied on the items in question.
Article 4(1)(xi) is a provision to prohibit native registering a junior note that isdeemed identical with, or comparable to, any an elderly registered mark.
Article 4(1)(xv) is a provision come prohibit any kind of mark from gift registered whereby itis most likely to cause confusion through other organization entity’s renowned goods orservices, come the advantage of brand owner and users’ benefits.
U.S. POLO ASSN filed an appeal againstExaminer’s refusal on April 16, 2018.
JPO admitted a high degree of reputationand popular of “POLO” as a source indicator that The Polo/Lauren Company, L.Pin link with clothing and also bags based upon following fact-findings.American company Polo Ralph Lauren was established in 1967 in New-York through fashion designer Ralph Lauren. The 1980s and also 90s saw huge expansion because that the Ralph Lauren brand and it became a global phenomenon.“POLO” shows up with definitions of ‘trademark of us designer, Ralph Lauren’ and ‘leather assets designed by Ralph Lauren’ in some dictionaries which plainly demonstrate “POLO” is known as an abbreviation the ‘POLO RALPH LAUREN’.“POLO” has been significantly used nearby to “RAPLH LAUREN” on various goods and frequently advertised together a famous brand the RALPH LAUREN in the media.A customer survey conducted in January 2010 indigenous 900 adult age two decades and older revealed the RALPH LAUREN has actually ranked 3rd-most well-known brand in clothes after Burberry and also UNIQLO.Annual sales exceed USD4,800 million in 2008, USD7,450 in 2013.
The Board uncovered the used mark “U.S. POLOASSN.” shall be viewed as a composite note consisting that “U.S.”, “POLO” and also “ASSN.”Since the last word “ASSN.” is also unfamiliar to average Japanese consumer to seeit together an abbreviation of ‘association’, the applied mark would certainly not provide rise toany specific definition as a whole. Besides, its joint ‘ˌjuː.es poʊ.loʊ eɪeɪesén’sounds redundant. Also if the 2nd word “POLO” means ‘a video game played onhorseback through two groups of 4 players each’, given a high call of theword as a source indicator or one abbreviation of ‘POLO RALPH LAUREN’ the board can’toverlook the reality that it has actually the exact same spelling as RALPH LAUREN’s famousapparel brand.
If so, pertinent consumers would consider “POLO” together a prominent part of the applied mark and also it shall be permissible to to compare the part with the cited mark in assessing similarity of mark.
In this viewpoint, the applied mark would provide rise to a sound that ‘poʊ.loʊ’ and also the definition of “RALPH LAUREN’s famous apparel brand”. Therefore, the used mark chandelier be reputed confusingly comparable to an elderly registered mark “POLO” own by The Polo/Lauren Company, L.P in class 18, and also others (TM registration no. 4040052, 4931614, and also 4931615).
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Based top top the foregoing, the Board uncovered thatExaminer no error in fact-finding nor using Article 4(1)(xi) and also (xv) ofthe Trademark Law and also decided come refuse the applied mark accordingly.