The Kuwaiti Trademark office (KTMO) had issued a decision for not allowing the registration of a well known trademark “RITZ“ in the name of a third party.
A Kuwaiti local holding company called Al Mawarid Group had applied for the registration of “RITZ”, ”RITZ word in A/E” and “RITZ in Arabic” in classes 24, 26, 30 & 36.
The Examiner at the KTMO office could not find any prior registration of “RITZ” in the above classes and therefore these applications were accepted and published in the Trademark Journal dated March 2003 subject to opposition within one month.
An opposition was filed by the Ritz Hotel Company, Limited a British company set up by a Cesar Ritz in 1896 and which operates the Ritz Hotel in Paris, and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. a subsidiary of the Marriott Company, worldwide licensee of the trademark RITZ. Both companies have registrations in Kuwait in class 42 in respect of hotel services and do not have any trademarks in classes 24, 26, 30 & 36.
In spite of the following facts:
- There are no provisions in the Kuwaiti Trademark Law to recognize well known-trademarks.
- Kuwait is not a member state of Paris Convention.
- Lack of experience and literature at the KTMO office.
Our arguments were based on:
- They still have to follow international guidance in respect of well-known trademarks.
- The role of trademark law is to avoid confusion of public and the misleading of consumers.
- Registration of well-known trademarks will confuse the public, mislead consumers and results in an unfair competition.
- If these goals are not achieved, then registration of trademarks in Kuwait will not have any meaning.
- The Commercial Law has provisions to prevent unfair competition. Allowing the registration of the opposed marks will be against the Law.
Our argument was taken in consideration and the decision came out for not allowing the registration of trademark applications for “RITZ” in classes 24, 26, 30 & 36.