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Thursday, 22 January 2004

HAVE TRADE MARKS MET THEIR MATCH?

Findlaw reports that the UK Trade Mark Registry has turned down an opposition by the British Ministry of Defence to the New York Mets’ application for the METS word and device mark. The MoD had argued that its MET mark, based on the operations of the Meteorological Office, was likely to be confused with the American Baseball team’s mark under s.5(2) of the Trade Marks Act. Not so, said the Hearing Officer. Though the goods in question were similar or identical, the parties’ marks were not similar enough to cause confusion especially because (i) of the presence of the device in the METS mark, (ii) the lack of a meaning for the word METS, together with the fact that the addition of an “S” could not be transforming the word into a plural or a possessive form meant that consumers would notice that it was different from the word MET.

The IPKat doesn’t know weather it’s wise to comment, but he’s not letting that cloud his judgment. Instead, he hails this decision for providing guidance on whether there is conceptual similarity between marks with meaning and marks without a meaning (there are 2 options here – the lack of meaning of one mark could mean that conceptual similarity is considered irrelevant or that the marks are considered conceptually similar) and the treatment to be accorded to the addition of an “S” on the end of an existing mark (snow mean feat).

Weathermen here, here, here, here here and here


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