In a nutshell, the applicant applied for MICHELE X in a bubble-type fancy script. The opponent opposed, citing a likelihood of confusion based on its mark consisting of the phrase MICHELE THAT’S FASHION in a cursive script.
Certain of the goods were identical so, one might think that since both marks contain the dominant term MICHELE, this would be a shoe-in for a successful opposition. Not so, according to Mr Hearing Officer Landau. Although the opponent claimed that its mark contained the term MICHELE, the script was such that the relevant consumer would see the term as either WICHELE or CCCICHELE. Thus, there was only slight visual similarity. If consumers did see the mark in that way then it followed that they would pronounce them pretty differently and there would be no conceptual similarity.
The IPKat isn’t sure about this decision. While it’s right to look at consumer perception, he reckons consumers aren’t stupid, and when faced with a slightly ambiguous-looking word, they will read it in a way that makes sense, rather than as a coined term.